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Hey! A move!

Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that they’ve signed pitcher Scott Baker, formerly of the Twins, to a one-year deal. The details should be coming soon.

Baker, a righty starter, is making his way back from Tommy John surgery, and was probably looking for a soft place to land, re-establish himself, and then hopefully sign a more lucrative contract in the near future. The Cubs, thankfully, can provide that opportunity. And if Baker succeeds by July, with the Cubs out of contention, he becomes a nicely flippable piece.

We’ve discussed Baker here a bit before, as he fit the mold of the Cubs’ preferred pitching option this offseason – namely, a bounce-back candidate they could secure on a short deal:

Baker, 31, missed all of 2012 after April Tommy John surgery, but he’s expected to be ready to go next year. It seems like he’ll have to settle for a one-year-plus-option type deal, which is right in the Cubs’ wheelhouse. He was always a pretty effective pitcher with the Twins, with a 106 ERA+, 1.241 WHIP, and 3.48 K/BB in his most recent five seasons.

The Cubs have said that they hope to sign at least two starting pitchers this offseason, so Baker is likely just the start of things to come. He’s certainly a high upside option, but it will take more than Baker – much more – to make the Cubs’ rotation serviceable in 2013. Given his recovery from surgery, and a possible limit in innings (not a huge limitation, but maybe some), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baker be one of three starting pitchers signed this offseason, rather than just two.

Obviously this signing, and its implications, will be discussed at length in the coming days and weeks.

UPDATE: Patrick Mooney has a source who tells him that Baker will get $5.5 million on a one-year deal, with up to $1.5 million in incentives. If you’re looking for a comparison, Paul Maholm got $4.75 million and gave the Cubs a $6.5 million club option. In other words, Maholm’s deal was more team friendly, but he was coming off of shoulder weakness, and hadn’t been quite as consistently good as Baker pre-injury. This is a solid low-risk, high-upside signing.

  • Fastball

    great deal for the Cubs. I don’t count him in the search for starting rotation pitchers. I mean we still need 2 or 3 more. Maybe 1 more Baker type and 2 more starters. I want McCarthy he could be an Ace and if he is healthy and strong health I sign him to a 3 year deal and I don’t look to flip him either. We sign 4 pitchers this off season and keep the best 2 and the other 2 get flipped if that’s how things shake out. We need depth and we have NONE.

  • Chad

    How can we sign 4 pitchers and get them enough starts to flip the not keepers? Garza and Shark will be in the rotation, unless you can flip Garza preseason. Still you have Wood, which you want to see what he is worth so now we have 7 pitchers for 5 spots. it just isn’t going to work out well if you want to increase value of 2 pitchers to flip them. Plus who would sign with the cubs to be the 7th starting pitcher?

    • bbmoney

      Pitching depth is always a good thing. It’s hard to have too many starting pitchers once the season rolls around and the injury bug hits. Plus Baker and Garza are coming off injuries so they are still question marks, at least about being ready to pitch every 5 days.

  • BluBlud

    Add Anibal Sanchez, B.J. Upton(Though I prefer the other one) and Chase Headley(even if it means Almora) and we are in business.

    • Jeremy

      As much as I would love Chase Headley, we wont give up Almora, Soler or Baez for him, nor should we at this point. Plus Almora can’t even be traded right now.

      • BluBlud

        yeah, the 1 year rule, huh. thats a stupid rule. Headley has proven he can play in the Bigs, Almora hasn’t. Maybe he’s a star, Maybe not. If the opportunity presents itself, I say go for it

        Now the Homer in me would say keep Almora. I consider him a true Cub. Talent wise, give me Headley, and let the Padres worry rather he will be a star or not.

        • Jeremy

          I wasn’t implying that Almora should be untouchable but I don’t consider Headley a player worthy of giving up Almora, mostly because I’m very high on Almora’s future potential. As much as I’d love Chase Headley, he isn’t worth any of our top 3 guys. Now I do like the argument you going with though, trading prospects for proven talent, which I agree with 100%.

        • notcubbiewubbie

          another impatient cub fan next year will be another 90-100 loss season give theo and jed time. anything is better than the jim hendry band-aid method.

    • JR

      How about Eduardo Nunez? Guys a stud, and would love to see what he can do with an everyday job. I’d love Headley but the price for him is going to be thru the roof. Talk about buying high on a guy..

      • Rcleven

        Love the bat but only 64 games at third with a .920 fielding % does not make a good 3rd baseman. looks like he is more suited as a second baseman.

        • JR

          Yeah the dude makes a lot of errors. But I wonder if it’s because he plays all over? From everything I have heard he has a strong arm. I do like his upside at one position and the Yanks obviously have no room. Just a thought..

  • calicubsfan007

    Yes, finally a signing! At least we are improving. I am glad that we got Baker. He is a good pitcher who can help eat up innings for us. Good signing!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ZachCubs82

    I like your thinking Blublud! I think we have a definite hole at 3rd that needs to be filled, and Headley would be a great and young addition! Bret, who do else do you see the Cubs going after for their rotation? I also saw a post about Nick Swisher being a locker room cancer….any truth to that? Nick Swisher has always seemed to be a happy-go lucky kind of guy that people enjoy…

    • Cub Style

      I’d love Headley, but teams don’t just give away top 5 MVP candidates.

      • MightyBear

        I agree. You folks need to get off Headley cause unless somebody blows the Pads away with a deal, he’s not going anywhere.

        • DarthHater

          Yea, if the Cubs weren’t willing or able to pay the price for Headley during the last off-season, when he would have been a lot cheaper, there’s no way in hell that they’ll be trading for him now.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Yea, if the Cubs weren’t willing or able to pay the price for Headley during the last off-season

            If the gossip mill is at all accurate, then a lot of teams were unable to meet the Pads’s price last winter or this July. All of the obligatory “we plan to build around this guy” stuff might be genuine here: the anecdotal evidence certainly suggests so!

  • Cub Style

    I wanted Baker for a long time on this exact kind of deal. This is perfect. I am a very, very happy camper.

  • Fastball

    Headley isn’t on my radar. No chance to get him in trade. We can’t trade our chips for him.
    We have some kids coming along for 3B we just need a gap filler for now. I have an idea that might work internally. Everybody is high on Watkins. Maybe we slide him over to 3B for a year and see how he does. He certainly wouldn’t be my long term solution but in house he might be a good near term solution. He is above avg defensively, speed and hits lefty and understands the strike zone. When our kids who are a few levels lower in the system are ready we move him to 2B if his offense proves out. At that point if Barney hasn’t developed his bat enough to hold off Watkins we move him to utility infielder. He would be a great back up at SS and 2B even 3B for a few games.

    • Noah

      I’m not sure how Watkins’ arm is, but I’m not sure how well the bat would play in a corner and you’d be wasting some of his athleticism. Also, I think the Cubs will want to have Watkins start the season in AAA.

      The ideal Watkins solution for me is that he looks good in Iowa and Barney has a hot first half of the season offensively, so we can flip Barney for prospect(s) and then have Watkins start at 2B.

    • Rcleven

      I would pretty much give up chasing Headley. How about having discussions with SD about Grorko. He’s blocked by Headly. Looks to have the Bat of a corner and just 24 yrs. old.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor
    • Fishin Phil

      My parents told me that could make you go blind.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If the Cubs sign Anibal Sanchez next, I’m calling you a witch.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I get Anibal Sanchez is a great pitcher but he is most likely not worth the money he’s going to get. Its a terrible year of free agency for starting pitchers. If he gets 5 years gets near a 5 year $90 mil contract, forget it. He’s not worth that.

        • cubchymyst

          Is 18 million a year really bad of a deal for Sanchez? The money going towards free agents is going to increase over the next couple years due to the TV deals, so lets say after next off season it is now 6 million per win on the free agent market. With Sanchez only being 28 I don’t think its unreasonable to think he would continue his current performance of approx. 3 WAR a season for the next 5 years. Which is 18 million a year.

        • hansman1982

          I thought he was asking for 6/90 or 7/100 at which I would gladly give him 6/90.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I, too, would gladly give him 6/$90M.

      • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor
  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I would have loved to see get an option year of around $9 mil with that contract. Would have made this signing much more attractive

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I really want the Cubs to really go hard after Brandon McCarthy now. give McCarthy a 2 year deal plus an option year. Sign him to a 2 year at $22 million + option year of $13 mil. He is totally worth that. The cubs could decide to flip him for prospect midseason or to hold onto him. Yes injuries are a concern but there is a huge boom or bust factor hear and Cubs have the Cash to risk it. Its not like they signing a guy to 5 yrs at $100 mil. Lets get this done

  • cubs1967

    wow-5.5M for a guy coming off TJ surgery and no option if he does well; way overpaid and the cubs are starting to look like prostitutes; use me, then off I’ll go to greener pastures.

    well; now it’s only a 97 loss team…………..yipee…go jedai-go!

    • fearbobafett

      and you think the Cubs are not using him? If he pitches well and will not take a team friendly extension he will be flipped

    • Brian

      Wouldn’t that be the Cubs are the Pimps?

      • Carew

        Ha! I really did giggle

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      my gosh man, does ANYTHING make you happy?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yes. Folks responding to him makes him happy.

        • hansman1982

          And now we know how Brett got his start on the internets…

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Now I’m a professional troll.

            • Kyle

              You can get *paid* for that?

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                That’s your problem – you’re disagreeable, but you’re not a troll. You make actual points. You’ve got to learn to just rouse up some rabble.

    • MichiganGoat

      Ignored, ignored, ignored – everyone please follow this advice.

  • hansman1982

    DAMNIT KID – KEEP THOSE FREEKIN ELBOWS DOWN.

  • Tim

    off topic, but I remember someone on here saying how credible mlbtraderumors.com is. but you know what I constantly find it puzzling how the writers on that website constantly mess up stats on players time and time again. Someone wrote that tori hunter hit .343 but that’s not true. always something

    • Cubfanbob

      That ave was hunter batting in the 2nd hole

  • MightyBear

    According to MLBTR, the Rays may be shopping all of their pitchers for offense. How about Soriano, DeJesus, Barney and Vitters for Matt Moore and cash? The Cubs eat all salary. That might work for the Rays who are strapped for cash.

    • ari gold

      The Rays are going to want good players for one of the top young pitchers in the game.

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi
    Source: #BlueJays on verge of acquiring Josh Johnson from #Marlins. Deal could be even larger than that.

    One less rotation option and possibly one less trade partner…

    • North Side Irish

      Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
      Buerhle headed to #BlueJays along with Josh Johnson, sources tell me and @jonmorosi.

      Wow…

      • North Side Irish

        Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
        Jose Reyes could – repeat, could – be part of this. Two shortstops – Escobar, Hechavarria – going from #BlueJays to #Marlins.

        Just wow…

      • Kyle

        That was the Marlins’ plan all along. Take a quick shot and dump like crazy.

        • Jeff

          Kyle I agree with you they have done this before. In 1997 they spent a ton in the offseason and won the world series… then dumped their stars for youngsters….

  • Pingback: Cubs sign RHP Baker « ryneblaising()

  • North Side Irish

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm
    Tor-Mia BLOCKBUSTER first reported by @jonmorosi and @Ken_Rosenthal has Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhrle, Bonifacio & Buck all to Tor

    • North Side Irish

      To Marlins: Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, Adeiny Hechevarria, Yunel Escobar

      To Jays: Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Beuhrle, Emilio Bonafacio, and John Buck

      Remember when the Marlins won the offseason last year…

      • JR

        I am sure the Marlins will do a great job filling that weird new stadium. Genius #Marlins

        • North Side Irish

          Giancarlo Stanton ‏@Giancarlo818
          Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

          • Gabriel

            Let’s trade for Giancarlo! lol

            Really tho this trade is beyond the pale even for the Marlins. They’ve gotten back some nice pieces during their 6-month fire sale, but it definitely doesn’t seem like as much as they SHOULD be getting for these players (probably cuz they are selling low on all of them).

      • King Jeff

        Wow. That’s the only word I can think of for this. Forget the Astros, this might give the Marlins the worst roster in MLB.

  • Ponder this

    Anyone care to ponder a guess as to when Theo & Jed actually live up to there huge contracts and sign a Top notch Free Agent who is Big League Ready and has played in the Big Leagues already to a Multi Year Deal who hasn’t been Hurt? they both are getting paid huge sums and need to be held accountable for there actions and the fact they they are scrumminging the scrap heap……….No other GM & Pres would be give a pass by anyone else in America by there inactions……….Can anyone on here not think for themselves and not just swallow everything they haven’t done……..I have never saw such a bunch of losers that are ok with losing………..If you really love the cubs you should never accept losing…………Not when Ricketts has Millions to spend and is chosing not to……..

  • Ponder this

    No one is syaing spend just to spend,so save that argument kids………..There a Pieces out there that the cubs could go get and if Ricketts wasn’t cheap there is pieces out there they could get and the cubs could win a series next year………..They are chosing to lose because of the stadium rebuild deal…….They are trying to make it look like they don’t have money to spend because they want us taxpayers of chicago to foot the bill,but you kids don’t live even near here and don’t care about the facts do ya…………Nope…….not comming from your pockets…………

    • Jeff

      Speak the truth brother! Sounds good to have a realist posting on this site

      • King Jeff

        I’m so happy that you two “realists” found each other.

    • BWA

      Overpaying in a poor free agent market when the Cubs are not ready to contend for a World Series run is just stupid. The only big FA they should consider going after is Sanchez because he still has 5-6 good years ahead of him, then fill in the pieces with mid level players so they can be watchable (which they were until the trade deadline last year). The Cubs are investing more money in a minor league system then any other team and when the time comes they will use the money they have saved for some big free agents and trade some of those minor league pieces for big time players. At the same time, some of the young talent will be major league ready. Patience my friend… 2013 will be better but the future looks bright.

      • BWA

        Edit: 2013 will be bad, but the future looks bright

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