The Tigers Have Their Shortstop, And His Name Is Javier Baez

I have to say upfront that I don't care that Javier Baez pissed off Mets fans when he gave the "thumbs down" gesture last year. It was stupid. I prefer a player not to do something like that. But it has no impact on how I view him as a player or a clubhouse presence. Kenny Rogers got fined, sued, and suspended for threatening to shove a camera up camera man's ass. A year later, he was starting the All-Star game and became a postseason hero. Detroit fans fell in love with him. The same could happen with Baez (hopefully). 

I feel like I'm in a weird spot defending a guy who was not my first choice. My first choice was Carlos Correa. And don't get me wrong, Baez is a flawed player. He strikes out all the time. He never draws walks. Players like that tend to fall off hard at some point. With that said, I'd be stunned if he wasn't the Tigers' best player next year. In the future, do I hope that Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson take that mantle? Of course. As much as I love those guys and can't wait to see them in Detroit, they haven't played a major league game yet. They can make the Tigers better in the future. Baez makes them better now. 

I understand that many people were very disappointed when they read the news that Javier Baez would be coming to Detroit. In 90% of those cases, people were just frustrated that they didn't dish out the money for Carlos Correa. For a brief moment, I was disappointed too. Correa was who I wanted. It felt like the stars had aligned. The Tigers had the money, and given the A.J. Hinch connection, it seemed like there was a possibility that it could happen. It didn't happen, and with that comes a general amount of fanbase disappointment, but Carlos Correa did not invent baseball. Carlos Correa was not the only player on the market who could've made the Detroit Tigers better. Was he the best option? Yes. Would I currently be bouncing off the walls had the Tigers dished out the money to sign him? Absolutely. But considering the fact the Tigers have been playing with replacement level shortstops the last several years, a 4+ WAR player like Javier Baez for a reasonable six years, 140 million is a pretty enticing option for Detroit. It might not be a home run, but it's a nice double off-the-wall. With that said, this cannot be the end of the line for the Tigers this off-season. If you're going to go relatively cheap on a shortstop, then they have to go out and spend somewhere else. My guess is they're going to dish out money for another starting pitcher. They have the money to do more, and they need to.

This goes against type, but I remain hopeful about where the Tigers are headed. Maybe my expectations have just lowered regarding ownership here. But this team won 77 games last year with a lot of players that nobody believed in. I think they have the best manager in baseball. I believe they have the right personnel in the dugout. They have a core of good young players that we're going to get a great look at next year. Most of whom I think are only going to get better. I think I'm a pretty good detector of when I smell bullshit. I don't smell bullshit here. Now, I don't smell red roses exactly. But I think this team is very damn close to being very damn good, and they just got better by signing Javier Baez. Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it's bad, and that's how I view this signing.