I am enjoying watching Detroit sports learn how great a player Javier Baez is, as a Cubs fan I appreciate his unique talent and was disappointed the Cubs didn’t sign him.
I remember a time when shortstops were considered the worst batter in the lineup and that didn’t matter because shortstops were considered the best athlete and most important defensive player on the team. Ozzie Smith didn’t make is his mark at the plate, he was known as the Wizard because of his defense. I always felt too much attention is paid to Baez’s inconsistency at the plate and not enough value placed on his defense, which I think is worth enough to absorb his bat.
Baez was not the problem in the Cubs lineup, the problem was that everyone else in the lineup was not much better. Put Baez in a lineup with other players who make contact and get on base and you can live with his strikeouts, and revel in his ability in the big moments. I think in some ways Baez is like Brett Farve, high risk and high reward. The defense, and in particular Reggie White, made Farve who he was for the Packers because it could overcome his interceptions. Put Farve on the Detroit Lions and he is not a hall of fame player.
I am happy that even though Javier is no longer playing for the Cubs, he is playing for a team in my area that is on TV every day. Baez is the type of player you tune in just to watch, regardless of your interest in the team, much like Cabrera was in his prime. Tiger fans need to remember the incredible plays that he has already made in four games when he strikes out in that crticial moment in July because it will happen and he will still be worth every bit of money he is paid.