DETROIT — Tigers owner Chris Ilitch had a big grin on his face, announcing Javier Baez as a new member of his team.
"This is a turning point for the Tigers. This sends a message: we want to compete," Ilitch said on a Zoom press conference on Wednesday.
After years of tearing down the roster, Al Avila was able to add an All-Star caliber shortstop to the Tigers. Detroit signed Baez to a six-year, $140 million deal.
"There’s no secret that improving the middle of our infield was a top priority for us this offseason," Avila said in a statement. "We’re thrilled to announce the addition of one of baseball’s most electric players to help fill that need."
"I wanted to be on one of the best teams," Javier Baez said. He added it was 50/50 importance to sign before the lockout.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) December 1, 2021
"All the young guys coming up, I think we have a pretty good chance to make a World Series." pic.twitter.com/RwnjeDJYI9
This signing comes on the heels of locking up pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract.
"We're gonna have magic. We're gonna have magic on the field," Baez said, wearing a Tigers hat for his Zoom press conference.
Asked if this is where Tigers payroll will likely be, or if we can expect another big contract after the lockout, Ilitch mostly left it to Avila.
The owner emphasized this is not the turning point for the Tigers, but a turning point for the club. He deferred to Avila and his plans, which Ilitch said he supports.
"When get off of this Zoom, we still have work to do," Avila said.