Tigers Place Struggling Javier Baez on Injured List

The former All-Star is hitting .183 with a .456 OPS.
Jun 3, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) throws to first base during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 3, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez (28) throws to first base during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Baez's tenure with the Detroit Tigers just took another hit.

The Tigers placed the struggling shortstop on the injured list Tuesday with lumbar spine inflammation. It's the latest blow to the 31-year-old's career, which has been in a steep decline since he signed with Detroit in December 2021.

So far in 2024, Baez is hitting .183 with an on-base percentage of .209, while slugging .247. His OPS is a woeful .456, and he has only one home run through 53 games. His WAR of -1.4 ranks 538th of the 542 MLB players who qualify, and his wRC+ of 27 is woeful.

A former two-time All-Star who helped lead the Chicago Cubs to a World Series title in 2016, Baez doesn't resemble the exciting player he used to be. The Tigers hoped that's who they were getting when they inked him to a six-year, $140 million deal. That hasn't happened.

Baez has played in 333 games since arriving in Detroit and things have been brutal. In that time he's slashing .233/.264/.344. That's an OPS of 608. Over those three seasons he has hit 27 home runs, driven in 151 runs and struck out 314 times against 56 walks. His combined WAR is 1.9 and his OPS+ is 70.

It's possible an IL stint is just what Baez needs to turn things around. The Tigers need him to find something because right now he is worlds away from the guy who hit 34 home runs, drove in 111 RBIs, slashed .290/.326/.554 and posted 6.3 WAR in 2018.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.