Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baker goes Cubbie

Scott Baker during spring training 2012:
His elbow didn't like this very much.
Well, so much for this pitching possibility for the Twins.

Scott Baker, who early this offseason appeared likely to remain with Minnesota, wound up signing a one-year deal with the Cubs on Tuesday. He gets $5.5 million guaranteed and $1.5 million in incentives (incentive clauses are limited to "useage" stats, such as starts and innings pitched, not "results" stats such as wins or ERA).

Baker did good work for the Twins, but not a whole lot of it. He reached 200 innings just once in eight seasons (including 2012, in which he did not pitch). Durability has never been his strong suit.

Much as I would have liked to see Baker remain, $5.5 million is a lot for a guy who had Tommy John surgery around opening day. 2013 is going to be a rehab season. He's talking about being ready to start major league games by the time the season begins, but it's at least equally possible that he won't be ready until May or even June. I don't think he's likely to top 140 innings, no matter when he's ready to pitch.

The speculation is that Terry Ryan and Co. were unwilling to go just one year for that kind of money. The Twins wanted an option for 2014 if they were to go that high for next year; Baker and his agent wanted both the money and to be assured of free agency after 2013.

The Cubs went there. I am not upset that the Twins declined.

And at least we won't have to listen to Bert Blyleven whine that Baker doesn't "pitch down in the zone."

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