DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers announced that they have agreed to terms with shortstop Javier Báez on a six-year contract.
“There’s no secret that improving the middle of our infield was a top priority for us this off-season, and we’re thrilled to announce the addition of one of baseball’s most electric players to help fill that need,” said Al Avila, Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “Javy’s track record shows he’ll be an elite defender, and a special bat in the heart of our lineup. He’s a key piece to a highly competitive core of players that we are developing here in Detroit. Javy plays with tremendous passion, and we are looking forward to seeing the natural leadership abilities he brings both on and off the field to help us win.”
Báez, 29, split the 2021 season between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, posting a .265/.319/.494 slashline with 18 doubles, two triples, 31 home runs and 87 RBI in 138 games. He also finished the season with 18 stolen bases, which ranked ninth in the NL. Báez was one of four Major League players to finish the season with at least 31 home runs, 87 RBI and 18 steals (also, Shohei Ohtani, José Ramírez and Fernando Tatis Jr.), and was one of the most productive players in baseball during September/October, ranking 12th in the Majors with a 169 wRC+.
“I’m excited to be a Detroit Tiger,” said Baez. “This is a team that is on the rise, and I’ve heard the fans in Detroit are hungry for a winner. We have a strong mix of veterans and talented young players and I’m looking forward to joining this group to make a run at the playoffs and bring the city a World Series championship.”
A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Báez has played in eight Major League seasons, hitting a combined .264/.307/.477 with 160 doubles, 19 triples, 149 home runs and 465 RBI in 862 games. He has been selected to two All-Star Games, starting for the National League at second base in 2018 and shortstop in 2019. Báez won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2020, and according to Sports Info Solutions has led the Majors in defensive runs saved over the last three seasons. He finished second in voting for the NL Most Valuable Player in 2018 after hitting .290/.326/.554 with 40 doubles, nine triples, 34 home runs and a NL leading 111 RBI. He also ranked second that season in the NL in triples (9) and extra-base hits (83), third in total bases (336), fourth in slugging percentage (.554), sixth in doubles (40), seventh in home runs (34) and bWAR (6.4) and eighth in runs scored (101) and hits (176).
Báez has significant experience in the postseason, playing in 36 games. He was a key part of the Cubs World Series championship in 2016, earning co-Most Valuable Player honors in the 2016 NLCS vs. the Dodgers after hitting .316/.333/.500 with four doubles and five RBI.
Báez resides in Dorado, PR with his wife, Irmarie Marquez, and their sons, Adrian and Aiden. He was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs with the ninth overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft from Arlington Country Day School (FL). Báez was acquired by the Mets along with Trevor Williams from Chicago (NL) in exchange for Pete Crow-Armstrong on July 30, 2021.