The New York Mets lost a lot of talent to free agency last offseason, with several notable free agents signing with other teams. But three of those major departures have turned into disaster for other teams, failing miserably in the process. It seems the Mets did really well in picking the free agents to sign... and not to sign.
Former Mets infielder Javier Baez is emblematic of the Detroit Tigers’ offensive worries.
For two months, Baez thrilled Mets fans with his killer instincts, great defense, power, and speed. In 47 games with the Mets, he batted .299 with 9 homer runs, 22 RBIs, and had a .371 on-base percentage and an .886 OPS. He of course is best remembered for his mad dash to home plate on August 31, as the Mets completed a crazy ninth inning comeback against the Marlins.
But the Mets viewed an incident in August where he flipped off the fans with a thumbs down as a signal to move on and let him walk, in which the Mets nearly cut him. He signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Detroit Tigers right before the lockout to bring a jolt to an offensively challenged team in Detroit.
Baez, however, has not performed like a player who deserved a nine-figure deal. He is batting .188 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI with Detroit this year and has just a .232 on-base percentage with a .520 OPS. His OPS is the lowest of any qualified hitter in baseball, and it is over 350 points lower than his Mets number last summer. He is also whiffing at a league-worst 41 percent of swings.
The Tigers remain a lineup that has been quite poor all season. As a team, the Tigers through its first 60 games are batting just .221 with 31 home runs (last in the majors) and scored just 168 runs (last in the majors) or just 2.8 runs per game . Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Mark Canha have 31 combined home runs, to put the Tigers and the lack of offensive production from Baez into perspective.