MLB News: AJ Hinch Talks About Javier Baez's Struggles With Tigers

Javier Baez
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Sports
Ernesto Cova

The Detroit Tigers made one of the most significant moves of the MLB offseason. They inked Javier Báez to a huge deal to add a much-needed veteran presence to an up-and-coming team filled with youth.

Thus far, however, El Mago hasn't been able to make much of an impact, constantly striking out, chasing breaking balls, and getting groundouts at an alarming rate.

Tigers Need Him

Javier Baez
Giphy | NBC Sports Chicago

The Tigers need their veteran star back to his best if they want to have a shot in their division. And even though he's not seeing the ball well right now, manager A.J. Hinch is still confident in him:

“We need him,” Hinch said. “It’s funny how you talk about something pregame, going opposite field, getting the ball in the air, he does that and things work out. It’s not that easy, but it is nice to see him hang in there.”

He's Being Way Too Aggressive

Javier Baez
Shutterstock | 840655

But then again, Baez is chasing way too much. The pitchers are making him hiss with breaking balls, and he's failed to adjust. That's why Hinch wants him to be less aggressive:

“I think he’s obviously been very aggressive, overly aggressive,” Hinch said. “It’s somewhat in his DNA, but also for himself, he’s been a little bit excessive. I think that changes your contact point. You start catching that ball out front a little more, you’re gonna be on the ground, you’re not gonna get the ball in the air. If you tend to hit the ball a little bit deeper and hit the ball more middle of the field to oppo, the ball is gonna be in the air a little bit.”

Baez Says It's A Work In Progress

Javier Baez
Wikimedia | UCinternational

Baez knows he's far from his best right now. He needs to work on his craft and make an adjustment, but he claims he's not there mentally:

“Yeah, I’m still working a little bit, to be honest,” Baez admitted. “I’m not there yet. I’m just trying to see the ball pretty good. Timing’s good. Just approach-wise and mental-wise, I’ve got to get it right. I’m gonna be working out of the game, and during the game I’m just gonna go out there and play hard.”

Tigers Have Disappointed

Comerica Park
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Most analysts predicted the Tigers would be in contention for a wild card spot, yet they've been one of the most disappointing teams in all of baseball.

They're sitting at a 15-28 record with a -49 run differential, trailing the division leaders Minnesota Twins by 11.5 games. It's still early in the season, but the clock is ticking on them.

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