Monday, April 16, 2012

Scott Baker and the $9.25 million option

Scott Baker has been effective
when available, but he won't
be available at all in 2012.
When the Twins announced that Scott Baker was to have surgery to repair an elbow tendon and would miss the entire 2012 season, I (and others) immediately figured that the Twins would not pick up his 2013 option, worth $9.25 million.

LaVelle Neal offered a different opinion in Sunday's Star Tribune. His take, boiled down, is

  • In a baseball environment in which Edwin Jackson is getting $11 million on a one-year deal, $9 million-plus for Baker isn't an overpay;
  • The surgery should fix Baker's problems;
  • Somebody's gotta pitch for the 2013 Twins.

Neal hasn't completely convinced me. Taking the above points in the order I've listed them (which is different than the order in his piece):

  • The three pitchers he names as comparisons have all been more durable than Baker;
  • Surgery is no guarantee. Baker, as I recall, had elbow surgery after the 2010 season; he still had elbow problems in 2011;
  • Yes, somebody's gotta pitch. 

It does seem likely to me that the Twins will retain at least one of their potential free agent starters (Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Jason Marquis and Baker). It's difficult for me to imagine that Baker at $9.25 million after missing a full season will seem the best buy of that lot, but perhaps absence will make the heart grow fonder.

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