The Chicago Cubs announced today that they have signed former Minnesota Twins right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to a 1-year deal. The deal is worth a base salary of 5.5 million and Baker can make an extra 1.5 million if incentives are reached.
Baker missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John Surgery; however, he will be ready when spring training kicks off. In his career, Baker is 63-48, has an earn run average of 4.15, 770 strikeouts, and 224 walks in 958 innings. Baker is also 31 years old.
Baker does have great command and has great strikeout ability too. However, he does give up a lot of home runs and that may or may not be good for Wrigley Field (depending on the day).
Baker throws a low 90’s fastball and does have solid secondary pitches. His best pitch is his slider, thanks to Cubs Den for this.
The signing does not look great on paper, but it looks like a Paul Maholm signing. They both went into the off-season with past injuries and signed to a cheap contract. It’s a low-risk, high reward situation.
At first glance, you may think the Cubs have overpaid, but I don’t think so. Most players are being overpaid nowadays and signing a guy to a 1-year deal this early into the off-season could end up being big. The signing also does not hurt the Cubs future plans. I actually do like the signing and think he’ll be big next year. Just like Maholm, the Cubs are hoping he pitches good in the 1st half of the season and can be traded for prospects come the trade deadline.
Side note: Jon Heyman over at cbssports.com predicted Baker would end up with a 1-year deal worth 6.5 million. Just leaving that out there as the Cubs may not have overpaid for him.
The Cubs reportedly made a contract offer to Francisco Liriano last week, but that’s all we know. Perhaps, Liriano declined the offer and the Cubs moved on to Plan B and signed Baker. However, the Cubs went into the off-season wanting to sign 2 pitchers. They just signed one and another one will be signed at some point. So, maybe the offer is still out Liriano, but we don’t know and we may never know. Until he signs with a team or rumors surround Liriano.
More moves could be on the way! The GM meetings concluded on Friday and the Winter Meetings starts in about 3 weeks.