Anytime a player on a contract worth more than $140 million is benched in the middle of a game, it is sure the send shockwaves beyond the team’s clubhouse. Yesterday, during their game against the Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers shortstop, Javy Baez seemingly forgot how many outs were in the inning. The latest blunder is just the most recent in a growing list of disappointments that the Tigers have experienced since signing Baez.
Understanding the Javy Baez Benching
The Javy Baez Benching
After almost being thrown out stretching a single into a double, Baez was doubled off of second base on a routine fly out. Afterwards, manager AJ Hinch made the decision to bench Javy Baez, and his $140 million contract.
It was clear that with the benching, Hinch is trying to send Baez, and perhaps his entire team, a message. Since the Javy Baez contract was signed before the 2022 season, he has struggled. The one time runner up for the National League MVP looks a shell of his former self. His infamous poor eye at the plate has led to more cringe-worthy swings and misses. His glove has regressed to slightly below average. And his contract makes him one of the highest paid players in baseball.
At one point, the Tigers appeared ready to go all in and compete for a playoff spot. Instead, Eduardo Rodriguez struggled, Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson have yet to live up to their prospect hype and the team has continued to be one of the worst in baseball.
With Javy Baez locked into Detroit for the next four seasons, AJ Hinch and the Tigers are certainly hoping for a turnaround from Baez. With the team off to a miserable 3-9 start, the Tigers have a long way to go if they are to make a surprise run to the playoffs.
If the bats of Greene and Torkelson can get going, they can provide some protection for the former Cub. At his peak in Chicago and in 2021 with the Mets, both teams had other more consistent hitters around Baez. Lineups of prime Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant or Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso brought the best out of Baez.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, all eyes are now on the suddenly expensive Baez who appears to be struggling in the role of being “the guy".
If the Tigers are unable to replicate that formula, it"s going to be a long, and expensive, four years.
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