$140 Million Shortstop's Future With Detroit Tigers Uncertain

Javier Baez's future with the Detroit Tigers remains uncertain.

Baez signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Tigers before the 2022 season, but had a disappointing first year with the team.

He recorded a paltry .238/.278/.393 triple-slash line, with 17 home runs, 67 RBIs, nine stolen bases and 64 runs scored across 144 games played, a sharp drop from his 31 long balls in 2021.

Baez has the choice to opt out of his contract after the upcoming 2023 season, and it's unclear whether he will choose to stay with the Tigers or test free agency.

Baez's performance in 2023 will likely determine his future with the team.

If he plays well and is convinced he can fetch more than the $25 million he's owed annually through his age-34 season, he may decide to opt-out and pursue a bigger contract elsewhere. Manny Machado recently said he plans to opt out of his contract at the end of this season as he feels there is more money to be made on the open market, which is true for such players of Machado's talent, however, this is not necessarily the case for Baez.

However, if he has another disappointing season like he did in 2022, it's more likely that he'll stay put with the Tigers. Since the 2020 season, the thirty-year-old holds a .242/.287/.427 triple-slash line, so it seems unlikely, at the moment, that he'll be able to find more money on the open market.

The rebuilding Tigers may also look to trade Baez at some point in 2023 if he plays well and they can acquire solid prospects in return.

This could further complicate Baez's future with the team, as he may end up on a different squad before his contract expires in 2027. In any case, Baez's performance in 2023 will have significant implications for the Detroit Tigers' infield in the coming years. Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports