98 million reasons a Cubs reunion with Javier Baez is a bad idea

The Tigers are reportedly willing to listen on their star shortstop, who is coming off a historically poor showing during the 2023 season.

Detroit Tigers v Miami Marlins
Detroit Tigers v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

After making the easiest decision in the history of humanity earlier this offseason by opting into the final four years and $98 million on his deal with the Tigers, the former Gold Glove infielder is reportedly available via trade - although that certainly feels more like wishful thinking on the part of Detroit.

Baez ranked as one of the least valuable hitters in all of MLB in 2023, slashing just .222/.267/.325 and somehow failing to even match his already woeful performance from the year prior, his first with Detroit. Now, with a pair of former Cubs execs calling the shots for the Tigers, it looks like the club is leaving all its options open - including moving Baez via trade.

Right now, the Tigers would have to eat probably 80% of that contract to even get a team to casually discuss the possibility of acquiring him - and even then, it's hard to see any front office coming off anything of any real value, even with Detroit eating tens of millions of dollars on the deal.

Cubs made the right call in trading, then letting Javier Baez walk in free agency

To break it down in even simpler terms: Baez has negative value at this juncture. As thrilled as Scott Harris and Jeff Greenberg must be to have Miguel Cabrera's deal finally off the books, the Baez contract looks like dead weight - the last thing Detroit needs as it looks to capitalize on a weak division just as its young core starts making strides at the big league level.

If you're one of those Cubs fans who believe that bringing Kris Bryant or Javier Baez back to Chicago will somehow help them reclaim their former glory - I have to stop you now. I know Chicago has a third base need and Baez has always been versatile defensively, but there's no chance Jed Hoyer is going down memory lane here.

The Baez deal, even at its inception (six years, $140 million) looked like a huge gamble. Two years in, it's proven to be worse than a gamble, with the infielder worth just 3.2 bWAR over that span - with the bulk of that coming in his first season in Detroit.

Now, on the wrong side of 30, it's hard to believe better times lie ahead for this marriage - and it's just more proof that Hoyer made the right call three years ago, trading Baez for Pete Crow-Armstrong and then choosing not to pursue him in free agency.