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Javier Báez is one of the most fascinating players in MLB 2021-’22 free agency. An electrifying outfield player capable of making highlights with glove and bat, Báez’s personality and passion for baseball represent the direction the game is taking.
In a class loaded with short stops of autonomous agents, Báez comes up with a curriculum vitae that competes with them all. Two-time All-Star, a 2016 World Series champion, a playoff hero and a 2020 Gold Glove Award recipient. But the Puerto Rico native also comes with risks and a reputation on the pitch that could make him the bad guy. choice for a few clubs.
Even if some remain on the sidelines, the combination of talent and marketability that “El Mago” brings to the table will allow him to land a lucrative contract. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best free agent destinations for Javier Báez.
Javier Báez signs with Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto knows what he wants this winter. With JP Crawford entrenched at shortstop, Seattle is on the hunt for an infielder who “Who is adaptable and willing to move around the field and maybe a little uncomfortable. “ It’s Javier Báez in every way.
- Statistics of Javier Baez (2021): 31 home runs, 87 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, .265 / .319 / .494 slash, 117 OPS +, 3.6 fWAR
Since the 2017 season, Báez has played 486 shortstop games, 320 second base, 104 third base and appeared in the outfield for 4.2 innings (FanGraphs). He’s a player who is more than willing to handle the double play, staring at an incoming runner rushing towards him before throwing a throw at first base.
There are huge flaws with his approach to plate, but Dipoto’s desire for a free agent addition is specific and Báez ticks the boxes. He would bring energy to the stadium and his way of playing would fit in perfectly with a young team.
New York Mets keep All-Star infielders together
Admittedly, New York might feel a little uncertain about a Báez return. It has nothing to do with his performance in the Mets lineup after the trade (.299 / .371 / .515, 143 wRC + in 47 games), but relates to comments and actions done during the season. However, fans who have reacted emotionally should put this in the past for a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and has done something to defend his teammates. More importantly, Báez is still a very good player.
- Javier Báez’s contract prediction: 4 years, $ 84 million
A four-time Fielding Bible Award recipient, the Báez-Lindor combination is one of MLB’s best defensively. They also have a strong bond and given the number of years Lindor has been under contract for, it should be important to make this environment the best it can be. As for Báez’s problems at home plate, he’s always going to hit a ton and never shoot goals. But a player who hits 25+ home runs, leads in 80+ runs and plays stellar defense is what a playoff contender needs.
Texas Rangers revive Globe Life Field
The Texas Rangers are going to be spending money this winter, in large part. Enter the offseason with only a payroll of 51 million dollars and a need to get fans into the seats of Globe Life Park in its second full season, this franchise will be a hit with at least one everyday player.
One thing to consider, Báez had one of the most popular MLB jerseys ahead of the 2021 season. While this does not affect Rangers on the Diamond, it is a factor the property will take into consideration. More importantly, Texas is in desperate need of a modernization at shortstop and second base. The Rangers shortstops placed 22nd in wRC + (85) last season. As for the team’s second baseman, they finished 18th in defensive points saved (-1). Either place could be improved and whether it’s Javier Báez or Trevor Story, Texas has to add one.
Detroit Tigers create an offseason sensation with Javier Baez
This is the team to watch during the winter. The Detroit Tigers have already signed Eduardo Rodriguez, but this is only the start of the club’s offseason plans. Improving rostering and defense are two big priorities for the front office, Báez addressed each of them in a single gesture.
Carlos Correa is the priority target and rightly so, but Detroit would still be lucky to sign Báez. He claims a 7.9 fWAR since the 2019 season with higher isolated power (.225) than Correa (.211), he’s also better on basic trails and more versatile defensively. Given the tough 2020 season at Báez (55 wRC +, 59 OPS +) lowers its asking price, there might even be added value in signing Báez.