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gods-wrathWell, he won’t miss the entire season (yet), but the news on Scott Baker isn’t exactly good.

The long-awaited evaluation of Baker’s “sore” elbow turned up a strain (which is technically a tear, though it could be a minor one), and he’s been shut down for at least the next month. He won’t start throwing until the end of April at the earliest, which means there’s no realistic way he could be pitching in Chicago until well into June.

That sucks.

Any thoughts you may have had about flipping Baker can now fade from your mind. If he returns, a flip is impossible, and the best you can hope for is a solid second half that yields a team-friendly extension going forward. I suppose you could also hope for a second half return to a team surprisingly in contention, but … well …

This means that a Travis Wood or a Carlos Villanueva could end up earning a rotation spot for the whole first half of the season. Maybe that’ll end up being a good thing long-term.

In any event, this is the thing with picking up guys like Baker. You can get a Tommy John recoveree on a short-term, low-dollar deal, but that’s because there’s a risk he won’t be the same guy or won’t pitch for you at all. It was worth the shot for a team not expected to be competitive.

  • MikeW

    Enjoy the 6m for not doing much Scott!

  • MichiganGoat

    It was still worth the risk

  • cedlandrum

    i’m going to block him out of my mind completely now.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    Dang it, you shortcircuited the “is a strain a tear” debate before we got started!

    Given that Baseball Prospectus article I linked yesterday, I’m over sore-armed pitchers. I want nothing to do with them. Not even a Garza-resigning.

  • Curt

    when you buy broken don’t be shocked
    when you get broken. Unbelievable luck pretty pricey shot though

  • cubsin

    So what’s the over/under on Garza pitching sometime this season?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      May 30. I’ll still take the under, but barely.

  • willis

    Stupid signing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Paul Maholm was coming off unnerving shoulder troubles when the Cubs signed him. Was that signing stupid, too? Or does the outcome dictate whether or not a risk was stupid to take in the first place?

      You have to take chances. They don’t all work out – if they did, there’d never be guys like Maholm or Baker available to sign in the first place.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        The problem is it appears that sore-arm reclamation projects are only redeemable for sore-arm prospects if they work out :)

      • willis

        No it wasn’t. And this actual “signing” wasn’t just terrible either, but guaranteeing him all the money knowing damn well he wouldn’t be ready until late May/early June, if all went well, is stupid. I don’t mind taking risks on recovering TJ candidates, I do hate throwing them big amounts of cash and guaranteeing a roster spot.

        I just don’t get the move really, and if other teams were offering him this that or whatever, that’s great. Go get it kid. But it was a big risk, that cost 6 million. Doesn’t make sense to me.

        I will admit, half of this frustration is not only Baker, but with all the shitty injuries and failing rehab attempts going on. The injury bug is in Cubs camp for sure.

    • another JP

      Whether the signing was prudent is debatable, but the healing process is what can be expected. From baseball reference-

      “The chances of a complete recovery after the modern surgery are estimated at 85 to 90 percent. Rehabilitation takes around 12 to 15 months for pitchers and about 6 months for position players”

      Baker had his surgery on April 17, 2012, so fifteen months would be mid-July… a June appearance would be entirely expected. And I’m not going to close the door on the Cubs getting value from his acquisition just yet- it’s only a one year deal and they could decide to hold on to him at a reduced rate next year. Sometimes injuries take a while to work through for pitchers- look at the history of Carpenter with the Cardinals.

    • JR

      Who cares about $5.5 Mill for Baker. At least he had a bit of upside. The freaking Yankees are taking on $13 Million and the baseball trainwreck known as Vernon Wells…

  • When the Music’s Over

    I’m not sure why anyone would be willing to give Baker a multi-year contract after this season, even if it was somewhat team friendly. He’ll have missed the entire 2012 season, likely most of the 2013 season, he’ll be 32 years old, and he’ll have thrown 200 IP 1x in his career.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A team-friendly extension could be a one-year deal with multiple option years.

  • Tommy

    I’m not going to get upset over the Cubs signing a guy to a 1 year contract, and I don’t think there’s much harm from that regardless of outcome. Sure, you don’t want to throw money away, but you’re going to lose on those gambles at least part of the time. It’s worth it for the times that it does work out.

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