By JAY COHEN
AP Baseball Writer
Javier Báez is taking his high motor to Motor City.
Báez is nearing a $140 million, six-year contract with Detroit, giving the Tigers a dynamic bat for the middle of their order.
Báez, who turns 29 on Wednesday, hit .265 with 31 homers and 87 RBIs in 138 games with the Cubs and Mets last season. The move likely puts Báez back at shortstop after he finished the year at second base while playing alongside good friend Francisco Lindor in New York.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
Detroit had been looking for a shortstop since it went 77-85 last season, finishing third in the AL Central behind Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox.
Looking to build around a young core that includes pitcher Casey Mize and slugger Spencer Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft, the Tigers also traded for catcher Tucker Barnhart and signed left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez to a $77 million, five-year contract in free agency.
Báez was selected by the Cubs with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. The two-time All-Star made his big league debut in 2014, quickly becoming one of baseball’s most popular players with big-time power, slick defense and aggressive approach on the basepaths.
In his first full season in the majors in 2016, he helped the Cubs win it all for their first championship since 1908. He batted .290 with 34 homers and 111 RBIs in 2018, finishing second to Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich in voting for NL MVP.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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