Javier Báez Talking Turkey With Tigers, Possibility Mets Still in Play

The Tigers have been viewed as sure bets to land one of the market’s top shortstops, with some going so far as to say Carlos Correa is a “done deal.” But unless their more recent talks are just a way to make Correa’s reps drop their asking price, it seems as if they’ve turned their attention to Javier Báez. Several outlets are reporting serious discussions between the two sides, though it doesn’t appear a deal is imminent.

Jon Morosi, who is based in Detroit and has his finger on the Tigers’ pulse as much as anyone else in the industry who isn’t exclusively covering the team, said there have been contract talks within the last several days. Buster Olney took it a step further by saying that Detroit is “focusing” on Javy after having contact with both Correa and Marcus Semien.

Olney had previously reported that Báez turned down an offer from the Cubs “somewhere in the range of $180 million,” but he specified in this tweet that it was $168 million over eight years. That was during spring training of 2020, when Javy himself said negotiations with the Cubs were progressing just before COVID shut everything down. I had speculated at the time that an extension might be around six years and $136 million with a vesting option, which it appears was not nearly enough to get it done.

Ken Rosenthal also got in on the action with a tweet that he subsequently quote-tweeted twice to provide additional context. After reporting that the Tigers were having discussions with Báez, he noted that no deal was in place and that other teams were in the mix. Rosenthal then added that the Mets can’t be ruled out, especially after owner Steve Cohen got big mad and filled his diaper publicly when Steven Matz‘s agent had the gall to approach the Mets and then sign elsewhere.

In a twist that might make all that a moot point, the Mets have signed Eduardo Escobar to a two-year, $20 million deal. However, Rosenthal was quick to point out that the move doesn’t take them out of contention for Báez because Escobar can play third base.

With the pitching market moving quickly, it’ll be interesting to see whether the shortstop field likewise begins to heat up soon. There was talk around the league that Semien and Corey Seager might be looking to sign ahead of the December 1 CBA deadline, so it makes sense that Báez could try to jump that market and get out in front with a big deal that still represents a bargain relative to his peers.

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