Report: Tigers, Baez in contract talks

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The Detroit Tigers and star free-agent shortstop Javier Baez have had contract talks over the past several days, a source told MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

While his talks with the Tigers are continuing, there's no deal in place, and other teams remain in contention for his services, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Detroit is seeking to add a high-profile shortstop to help end its long rebuild after signing left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Tigers shortstops combined for minus-0.1 WAR and a 72 wRC+ last year, both ranking 28th out of 30 teams. Detroit was just as bad defensively - all five of the Tigers' shortstops accrued negative defensive runs saved in 2021.

Baez, who turns 29 next week, would fit the bill in a big way for the franchise. The two-time All-Star is regarded as perhaps the best defensive shortstop in baseball and has twice surpassed the 30-homer mark. He's also versatile and can provide plus defense at shortstop, second base, and third base. Baez was also integral to the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series championship, earning NLCS MVP honors during that run.

While he's likely getting a large contract, Baez's price tag should be less than what some of the other stars at the position are commanding this winter. The Tigers aren't willing to spend $300 million on a shortstop, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Last year, Baez hit .265/.319/.494 with 31 homers, 87 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases across 138 games for the Cubs and New York Mets. Defensively, he saved three runs at each of second and short.

Because the Cubs traded him midseason, Baez has been ineligible to receive a qualifying offer and is not tied to draft-pick compensation.

A return to Flushing is also still in play for Baez, as he and the Mets have remained in contact, SNY's Andy Martino reported this week.

The Boston Red Sox have also been linked to Baez this winter.

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Report: Tigers, Baez in contract talks
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