Scott Baker Could Pitch for the Cubs Eventually and Other Bullets

scott baker twinsIn your zeal for a jam-packed week of news and rumors, don’t forget to sign up for this week’s free, one-day fantasy baseball contest, which runs on Friday. Signing up helps BN, and will help you have some fun on Friday. Oh, and you can win part of a $300 prize pool. Sign up here. Full details here.

  • In your now daily Alfonso Soriano update, the Cubs outfielder raised his OPS another 26 points yesterday, and his OPS+ jumped 7 points to 107 (I can’t underscore how difficult that is to do in July, after you’ve already accumulated well over 300 plate appearances). Less than two weeks ago, Soriano’s OPS was .666. It’s now .774.
  • Although you don’t see it every day, Travis Wood is just about as hot as Alfonso Soriano, and he’s done it all year long. Last night, Wood recorded his 17th quality start – that’s the most in the majors, and it’s the most for a Cubs pitcher in the first half since Greg Maddux in 1988.
  • Speaking of Wood, remember all that he-won’t-pitch-in-the-All-Star-Game stuff? Well, I can’t be certain, but it sounds like the Cubs or Sveum or Wood or someone wasn’t aware of the rule change that allows Sunday starters to pitch an inning in the All-Star Game if the team and player consent. Now Sveum says there’s a chance Wood will face a batter or pitch an inning in the Game. Here’s how Sveum put it, per ESPN: “Whatever happens it will depend a lot on how Sunday goes. [Tuesday is] going to be a side day [for Wood] anyway. I have no problem pitching one inning or 20 pitches, just the same you would be pitch on your side. He goes all out on his side days anyway.” If he wants it, I hope Wood gets to pitch his inning.
  • Dale Sveum says Brian Bogusevic should be able to return to playing duty for the upcoming Cardinals series. He can pinch hit at this point, at least. Bogusevic’s hamstring injury was the third injury to beset a Cubs center fielder over the past month – Ryan Sweeney is out for several more weeks after breaking a rib colliding into a wall, and David DeJesus is out another couple weeks, at least, after straining his shoulder colliding into a wall.
  • In the same piece there, Carrie Muskat says that Scott Baker threw his fourth simulated game yesterday in Arizona, and could be getting ready for a rehab assignment. For him, as he builds up arm strength, that would likely last a month or so. In that case, we could see Baker in mid-August with the Cubs. At that point, it would be far too late for him to reasonably be considered a trade chip (even in the August waiver period), but it would give the Cubs an opportunity to see what he’s got and how he’s looking going into the offseason. If he looks good, and if he’s liked his time in the Cubs organization, maybe he becomes an interesting, cost-effective re-signing option.
  • 2012 first round pick Albert Almora was at Wrigley Field yesterday, against a backdrop of the Cubs still negotiating with 2013 first round pick Kris Bryant. Each player has/had the same advisor – Scott Boras – and each player appears to be taking the negotiations right up to the deadline.
  • BN’er John hooked us up with a chart breaking down Baseball America’s midseason top 50 list, in which the Cubs did well. Check out the chart over at the Message Board.
  • The Wrigley Beer Man has a new appreciation for vending at Wrigley Field.
  • The Cubs are funding some college scholarships.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

70 responses to “Scott Baker Could Pitch for the Cubs Eventually and Other Bullets”

  1. MichiganGoat


  2. Greenroom

    I still cannot believe Theo and company traded Marshall for Wood. :D

    1. HickoryCubFan(Mike)

      I personally loved the trade from the beginning. Many on this site and others didnt care for it. Wood the past couple of seasons had numbers that overall didnt look too great. But if you looked back on his games pitched you could see hed have like 3-5 games each season where he got absolutely blown up and may have been left in a bit too long. These games really made his overall numbers look very average. Glad to see that hes basically just become a more consistent version of the pitcher he always was.

      1. Rebuilding

        Trading expensive or soon to be expensive middle relievers for starters and position players with upside is always good business

        1. HickoryCubFan(Mike)

          Totally agree!

          1. cub2014

            Trading for players that you will have longer control
            over and trading players that their contract is up
            is almost always a great idea.

    2. RoughRiider

      I didn’t like the trade. I liked Marshall and believed he was the type of player the Cubs should keep. Now, I will say it was a good deal. Both teams got value and have no reason to have regrets. Unlike a certain trade with Colorado.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Where is the regret with Colorado… sure it was a pain in the Ass and cost the Cubs some money but neither team gained or lost anything of value. There weren’t FA third baseman worth getting and Valbuena has been better than expected. Colvin is a 4/5 OF at best and you can find 100s of those in baseball. The Marshall trade has given us a top pitcher (even if he levels off as a good #3 still a good return on a MR) and Reds got a good MR (but a reliever that cannot close games). We came out ahead on the Marshall trade and Stewart trade was a wash. Nothing really lost and nothing gained.

        1. On The Farm

          “Colvin is a 4/5 OF at best and you can find 100s of those in baseball.”

          We literally did this in season when we claimed Julio and signed Sweeney to a minor league deal.

      2. Bails17

        Keep in mind that Marshall is costing the Reds 16.5 mil over the three years he is signed. Wood is not a free agent till 2017!! And he is only costing the Cubs about 600k this year! Now…that is a GREAT trade!!

      3. hansman1982

        I LOVED Marshall and was hoping he’d stay with the Cubs forever. One of the best setup men in the game today (sans the nearly year long injury this year) but we got Wood back so it’s working out pretty well.

        1. MichiganGoat

          meh I’ll take Grabow ;) he was a great signing!

          1. hansman1982

            Aaron Heilman.

      4. JulioZuleta

        The Reds have very large amounts of regret over that one. They traded an All-Star starter with years of team control for a guy that has turned out to be an oft-injured expensive middle reliever.

    3. Greenroom

      Yes, I agree, I loved the trade. My comment was heavy on the sarcasm. I always thought Wood could be a 3-4 in a rotation. We are definitely winners on this trade.

  3. Rebuilding

    I’m not so sure that Baker couldn’t be used as a trade chip during the waiver wire period. Given his salary and 1 year contract I don’t see why a non-contending team would claim him. If they did he could always be pulled back or we could just let him go and save a million bucks. But more than likely he would make it to someone who actually needs him and could net us a decent prospect since we would have leverage

    1. Mak

      The problem is that he’ll only have 2 starts before September when playoff roster eligibility is set (correct?).

    2. Noah

      Because what contending team is going to give up anything to get a guy who just returned from a 17 month layoff due to Tommy John?

      1. ssckelley

        A small market contending team.

    3. Rebuilding

      He is going to be making rehab starts starting next week. If he is showing his old velocity why wouldn’t a contending team take a chance on him for a low level prospect and a $1 million (the rest of his salary)? And why wouldn’t the Cubs take that over nothing? I would be really surprised if he’s not moved. If there is the off chance he can make 3 starts for you in a tight division it seems well worth the risk to me

      1. Rebuilding

        Or put another way – if a contending team has a pitcher that suffers an injury after August 1 Baker is likely the best + realistic + cheap option to actually make it to you on waivers. All of this assumes he looks healthy in his rehab starts

  4. ssckelley

    I still think there is an outside chance Baker could be a trade deadline candidate if he is able to come back and pitch effectively. I still cannot believe the Cubs threw away 5.5 million on this guy to rehab him and get nothing in return.

  5. Oswego Chris

    Where can I find the Enhanced Simulated Box Scores?

  6. Rebuilding

    If I was a contending team I would have scouts all over Baker’s rehab starts. He is a darn good pitcher if healthy and would be great insurance to have down the stretch. Not to mention he would come relatively cheap given the situation

  7. Ron

    Travis Wood may be one of the best managed starting pitchers in baseball. They have done a very good job of pulling him before he gets in trouble all year despite his pitch count. Just think what next years starting rotation could be if Garza doesnt get traded and they resign Baker.

    1. MichiganGoat

      oh Ron don’t you know Sveum sucks… he is horrible with pitchers… wait we haven’t heard that in a few weeks- funny what winning does to an angry fan base.

      1. Timmy

        someone censor goat, he’s trolling about svuem again.

        1. Fishin Phil

          The Twits don’t lie!

        2. Scott

          Is this Russia?

          1. Timmy

            natch :D

  8. Jay

    After watching him cockblock a trade last year that would have sent him to a winner (SF) merely because of the weather there, I’m not optimistic of being able to deal Soriano no matter how hot he is right now.

  9. Kramden

    Between the anticipated Bryant signing, the trade deadline and finalizing the whole international signings… This seems like the calm before the storm.

    If all of these moves work out the way we all hope (WS?) I think we’ll all be able to look back at some point and conclude this was the defining moment in the Cubs’ turnaround that made it all happen.

    1. King Jeff

      This seems calm to you? Things have been going nuts since the calendar flipped to July, and I think it’s just going to get crazier over the next 3 weeks.

      1. MichiganGoat

        And culminating with Brett going crazy because he didn’t sleep for two weeks.

      2. itzscott

        Lot of “if’s” still hanging out there …

        Bryant still hasn’t signed

        Eloy Jimenez still isn’t signed

        Garza still hasn’t been traded or anyone else other than Feldman & Marmol.

        Still not sure if the Cubs are going to trade for more slot money or if they’re going to forego next year’s intl signing period

        All of these things are going to be resolved within the next 2 weeks and are pretty key to the Cubs’ rebuilding efforts.

        So yeah…. this is like the calm before the storm.

  10. jasn

    i traded baker after my first year in the show

    1. On The Farm

      It doesnt count if force trade is on

  11. Andrew

    Dang that Minnesota farm system is scary good. 2 of the top 3 plus 6 overall top 100 to begin the season.

    1. Andrew

      oh and they added kohl stewart

  12. Melrosepad

    Any chance we look at Cole Gillespie who was DFA’d by the Giants? Good minor league numbers but hasn’t had ML playing time really since a shot in ’10. If he became a free agent I’d love to have him replace Darnell down in AAA in case of more injuries.

  13. Teddy

    If anyone has noticed, the cubs are only 9 games out of the second wild card. I’m praying that we are buyers at the trade deadline. Delusional cubs fans ftw.

  14. ISU Birds

    I love how everyone calls someone with dreams of the postseason while the Cubs are on a hot streak idiots. You’re an idiot, why would you say that, I hate you, and so forth. I embrace it. This team as not so good as they are have been the most fun Cubs team to watch over the past 4 years. Why get so angry about someone getting a little excited?

    1. MichiganGoat

      whose angry? or are you talking to yourself?

      1. ISU Birds

        You can’t say that you haven’t seen people say stuff angrily after another’s comments.

        1. ISU Birds

          Regarding what I said.

    2. ssckelley

      y u mad bro?

      1. ISU Birds


  15. jasn

    al yellon sucks

    1. MichiganGoat

      What a quality comment you have there, so glad you could drop by, can we get you anything? You insight and narrative skill will be a nice addition around here. May I show you the door, its quite beautiful.

      1. jasn

        al yellon’s girlfriend?

        1. hansman1982

          No, I think wOBA is a better stat as it more closely correlates with runs scored. Not that using OPS is bad, it correlates very well (doubly so if you multiply OBP by 1.8 first) with runs scored but wOBA seems to do a good job of showcasing the well-rounded players over the “one-trick ponies” (not to be confused by the My Little Ponies (which, like, O.M.G. they are getting a new movie this summer SQUEAL!)).

  16. David

    I liked the Baker signing. It was obviously a risk, but a risk worth taking in my eyes, at the time. If all is well in Aug/ Sept, what would he command next year?? not sure if a lot of teams would give him a multi year deal, I’d be OK with giving him 2 years $12M, 3 years $16M with incentives. Too little??

  17. Justin

    No need to deal Baker. We didn’t spend 5.5 mil to rehab him and deal him to a desperate team for a couple prospects. Let him pitch in August/September and see how he does. Resign him in the offseason.

    1. Rebuilding

      Well, if he looks good and we are guaranteed to re-sign him than great. But how can you be sure about that? And how would trading him change the ability to sign him this offseason?

  18. Jono

    I think one of the reasons the Cubs gave him that contract was the ability to resign him if he gets back to form. Hoyer showing faith in him with $5 million might indeed push Baker to resign with the team. Maybe it won’t, but maybe it will. It’s worth taking the risk, right? If baker gets back to form and signs for a 2 or 3 year deal, and continues to pitch well, then that becomes an unbelievable move by the Cubs front office whether they trade him or not.

    1. Jono

      I hope I’m not just stating the obvious

    2. King Jeff

      He refused to sign a multi-year deal with the Twins last year, so I doubt he’s looking to do so this year if he barely pitches. He may sign on another relatively cheap, “prove-it” contract, which I think is our best bet until he proves healthy.

      1. Jono

        would a 2 year deal be consider a prove-it contract? Or are those strictly one yearers?

        1. King Jeff

          You are asking the wrong person that one. If it were my decision, I wouldn’t give him anything more than a year. If he gets back this year, he’s going to have started maybe 5 or 6 times in almost two seasons, I wouldn’t give him two years until he proves healthy for a longer stretch.

          1. Jono

            That’s a good thought process. And I should probably stop assuming that everyone here (except for a couple commenters) are experts. It just seems like most people here know so much more than me that you all seem like experts (again, except for a couple commenters)

            1. MichiganGoat

              I am an expert goat… well versed in drinking IPAs… what can I do for you? ;)

              1. Jono

                just keep being yourself, mr goat. That’s all I want

            2. King Jeff

              You aren’t actually too far off in your assumption. There are several brilliant baseball minds that seem to aggregate to this site (Pun definitely intended), whether they are everyday commenters or just other baseball writers/bloggers stopping in on occasion. The chances of finding a conversation with someone who pretty well knows what they are talking about are pretty good here.

  19. David

    I agree. He’s good when healthy and you have to think he’ll be healthy eventually.

    1. Kyle

      I don’t have to think that.

  20. JulioZuleta

    I predicted a few weeks ago that Garza would be traded on July 11. I’m sticking with it.

  21. Carne Harris

    I was wondering what was going on with Baker. Maybe he’ll do a “they stuck with me” Ian Stewart re-sign and then go on to pay us back by in no way being like Ian Stewart.

  22. Brandon

    Why was Almora at Wrigley? If I had to guess it was because the Cubs have signed Bryant and it was for pictures and promotion.

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