The Detroit Tigers made the decision to shell out a pretty penny during the offseason for SS Javier Báez, a six-year, $140 million contract to be exact. However, Báez hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire since donning the Old English D.
In 43 games played so far in 2022, Baez has amassed a mere three home runs and 15 RBIs – not at all the production that the team was envisioning. Of course, the roster as a whole is struggling immensely to produce runs, but that's a different story.
“It's hard,” Báez said earlier this week. “I don't know what to tell you. I'm not following the ball, not keeping my approach. They're not throwing my pitch. As long as I don't make them throw my pitch, they're going to throw the sliders. I just got to make that adjustment. There's no excuse.”
However, don't expect manager A.J. Hinch to openly criticize his player, whom he remains confident in.
Javier Báez still has the confidence of his manager
“It’s managing people,” Hinch said. “My job is to be an encourager and also to be a realist and be open and honest with all my players. The majority of my job is relationship-based. I will always have his back. I’m going to be in the trenches with him. We’re going to try to find solutions, not just make observations and critiques.”
Of course, Báez was even sat for a few games by the Tigers in an effort to jumpstart him.
“I would tell you it’s easier observing it and analyzing it than doing it,” Hinch said. “‘Oh, just don’t swing at sliders.’ It’s not that easy. ‘Oh, just swing at balls in the strike zone.’ It’s not that easy. Obviously, Javy knows the remedy for coming out of this.
“But putting it in and executing it against the quality of pitching we’ve faced lately has been difficult.”
Báez and the Tigers begin a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates starting tomorrow night.