After a brief, albeit contentious, stay in Queens, All-Star infielder Javier Baez is moving to the Motor City.
After being selected ninth overall by the Chicago Cubs in the 2011 MLB June Amateur draft, Baez spent the first seven-plus seasons of his career calling Wrigley Field his home park. Baez was moved to the New York Mets at the 2021 trade deadline along with Trevor Williams and cash in exchange for minor leaguer Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Over 47 games with the Mets, Baez hit nine home runs, collected 22 RBIs and scored 32 runs while contributing a .299/.371/.515 slash line, but also struck out 53 times against just 13 walks. The 28-year-old drew criticism and plenty of boos from fans and created controversy when he gave a “thumbs down” gesture to the home crowd on numerous occasions.
Aside from his difficult relationship with Mets fans, Baez has created the reputation of being one of the most exciting players in baseball. In eight seasons, Baez has made two All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger award, and one Gold Glove as well.
During the 2018 campaign, the native of Puerto Rico set career-highs across the board in home runs (34), RBIs (111), hits (176), runs scored (101), doubles (40), triples (nine), stolen bases (21), batting average (.290), on-base percentage (.326), slugging percentage (.554), on-base plus slugging percentage (.881) and total bases (336). Baez finished second to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich in the NL MVP voting that year.
In 2016 at just 23 years old, Baez earned NLCS MVP honors and helped the Cubs break their 108-year World Series title drought. The new deal includes an opt-out according to ESPN’s Buster Olney and will be the second-largest in Tigers franchise history (Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214M deal with Detroit in January 2012).
Victor Barbosa is a passionate follower of MLB, the NBA and NFL, with a specific interest in the Boston-area teams. As a 90s kid, he knows how spoiled he’s been, particularly with the BoSox run of championships (he grew up with a dog named Nomar and a cat named Big Papi). Now he lives with his fiancee and two pups (Hershey and Mosby) outside of Albany, NY. Follow Victor on Twitter at @vbarbosa1127.