The Detroit Tigers officially have their shortstop, having inked Javier Báez to a six-year deal worth $140 million. He was the second high-profile free-agent signing by GM Al Avila this offseason, following LHP Eduardo Rodriguez who signed a five-year, $77 million deal.
And despite his veteran status, Báez is a student of the game and always takes in more knowledge from his coaching staff.
“You never stop learning in this game,” he said. “With coaches, I pick something that helps me. A lot of coaches tell me different things. I’ve got to pick the things I know that I think are going to help me. Not everything.”
Second-year Tigers manager A.J. Hinch is getting an up-close and personal look at Báez’s skill set, which has been every bit as good as advertised with a .770 hitting percentage so far in the Spring.
“Javy is at a stage in his career where he’s probably been told everything,” Hinch said. “It’s just a different way of going about it. We’re very up front with guys with what our expectations are and what adjustments we want made.”
“Javy has always tried to be a more disciplined hitter,” Hinch continued. “He’s never resisted that. As he’s gotten a little more mature and older, I think he’s starting to understand and appreciate it more. What you can’t do with veteran players is dance around the obvious.”
Báez hit 31 home runs with 87 RBI last season with the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. He was originally selected by the Cubs with the 9th overall pick in 2011 and was named NLCS co-MVP in 2016. The two-time All-Star has a career batting average of .264 with 149 home runs and 465 RBI.
– – Quotes via The Detroit News Link – –