In game three of the Toronto Blue Jays series, Javier Báez was removed from the lineup mid-game because of a lack of effort and a baserunning error. Javy has been really struggling at the plate and this was just a sour cherry on top.
After signing a six-year, $140 million dollar deal with the Tigers back in December of 2021, the shortstop has done nothing but disappoint. It’s time we have a real conversation on if Báez should be sent down for a little while.
Biggest money to join the Mud Hens since Dontrelle Willis?
Javy hit .238 with a .671 OPS in his 2022 campaign, with 147 strikeouts and only 26 walks. Báez has looked even worse to start his 2023 year, as fans were hoping for a huge bounce back year from the two-time All-Star. The swings still looks ugly, the approach isn’t there, and it feels like this isn’t going to end naturally. It’s not often a star gets sent to the minors due to performance, but maybe a series or two in the minors will really help him get his swing back. If anything, he may add a spark to the Mudhens lineup that includes “future” major league Tigers.
I know what you’re thinking, “we are paying this man $20 million a year, why would we send him down to the minors?”
My answer to that…”why not?” Scott Harris should feel no shame sending him down for a little while, as Báez wasn’t even Harris’ signing (thanks Al Avila). Also, what do the Tigers have to lose? They are in no position to win whatsoever. Pitching? Sucks. Bullpen? Worst I’ve ever seen. Baserunning? Don’t get me started. Oh, maybe the offense is good! Nope, I’ve seen 11u summer ball teams with better approaches at the plate. It’s really, really bad, and Bàez sure doesn’t help.
The polarizing Javier Báez needs a spark
Obviously, in Triple-A, Javier Báez won’t see elite level pitching like he does in the majors every day. However, it’s a way to let him build confidence and get into a groove at the plate. We saw it with Spencer Torkelson last year. He was really struggling at the plate and was optioned to Triple-A for a while. The numbers may not show it, but Tork came back hitting the ball hard and looked more comfortable at the dish. Let’s say Javier Báez does get sent down and struggles in the minors. Well, that’s a road we will cross when the time comes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Báez make numerous elite level plays in the field. I’ve also seen him hit towering home runs. However, I’ve also seen him swing at sliders in the left-handed batter’s box. He’s thrown the ball 74 feet above the first baseman’s head, too.
I genuinely believe some time in Triple-A could benefit Báez. and At the very least, it’s a chance to get him back where he can contribute in the Tigers’ pitiful order.
Article written by Woodward Sports guest writer, Caleb Czarnik
Photo Credit: © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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