scott bakerOn Sunday, Scott Baker made his long-awaited Chicago Cubs debut. The outing, which came after months of rehab and minor league appearances, was a surprising success. Although he threw just 55 pitches, he completed five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk.

Maybe a sole successful September start is not what the Cubs hoped for when they signed Baker for $5.5 million in the offseason, but perhaps it’s more than they expected after watching Baker struggle through many of his minor league rehab appearances (which themselves came a couple months after Baker’s 2013 debut was expected).

And the Cubs might get more yet, with Dale Sveum confirming to that Baker will make another start for the Cubs. The precise date isn’t decided yet, but it’ll be at some point in the next week. That suggests that no one in the rotation will be bumped, and that Baker could actually get a couple more starts before the season ends.

I’m still of the mind that what we can learn this month about Baker with respect to 2014 is relatively limited. It could be that the Cubs are looking to do right by Baker this month, as they have the rest of the year, in order to maintain a good relationship heading into the offseason. While Baker feeling good about the Cubs isn’t going to make him take a minor league deal with the Cubs over a Major League deal with another club, it could put the Cubs in a position to keep Baker around on the most reasonable deal possible.

Plus, assuming the Cubs feel like they’re seeing enough of Chris Rusin and Jake Arrieta, there’s still nothing to lose by giving a couple more starts to Baker.

  • macpete22

    2014 MLB schedule is released today! Cubs supposedly making the trip to Fenway

  • CubFan Paul

    I’d rather these starts go to Grimm, so that Bosio can see even more of him going into the offseason.

  • auggie55

    With as inconsistent as Shark, Arrietta and Jackson have been all season, I have no problem giving Baker a few more starts. I hope Baker can return to being the pitcher he used to be, but we won’t know unless we give him a chance. I think Arrietta needs to be moved to the bullpen. He’s just too inconsistent and wild. He has 1 or 2 good innings, but loses it after that. I like Rusin. He doesn’t throw hard, but seems to keep hitters off balance.

  • #23

    Talk of moving Arrieta to the bullpen is way too premature. If he can improve over the course of next season, he could still become a TOR talent. Why waste that possibility before he is even given a chance to harness his stuff? We already have a lot of potential bullpen arms. Let’s see what Arrieta can do next year before relegating him to the bullpen.

    • willis

      Right, but I would keep the leash rather short next season. He has the talent and the stamina to be a pretty damn good starter. I don’t know about TOR, but 3ish maybe. Which is more than fine. I think he’ll have a leg up on the other competion going for the 4/5 spots next spring, but he needs to show contiued improvement and cut down on his walks consistently. This Jekyl and Hyde stuff will only play so long with the FO.

    • Cyranojoe

      Well, Arrieta’s gotten a few shots with other teams, but I agree let’s see what he can accomplish over the off-season. Many many folks had given up on Shark as an SP… maybe Jake can learn some of the right things from Shark’s approach.

      • Eternal pessemist

        …many have given up on him as a number one…and possibly a number two. Few have given up on him as a SP.

  • mjhurdle

    At least Sveum didn’t make some sort of supportive statement this time about Baker starting. He got blasted pretty hard last time he tried to say something positive about Baker in regards to him starting :)

  • August

    It’s great to see Baker do well and see the team moving in the right direction. I think we are one power-arm #1 or 2 away from the rotation that will carry us to the Promised Land. RizzOMG and Castro have regressed to Rizz0-4 and Castr0-fer. I sure hope they figure it out.

  • Jon

    I’m still miffed at the Cubs game Baker 5.5 million this offseason? Was their a line of suitors bidding for Scott Baker it’s just very reminiscent of Jim Hendry bidding against him self, the only thing missing is a ntc.

    • MoneyBoy

      Miffed huh? $5.5m is 5.15% of the Cubs ’13 Opening Day Salary total… pet Cots. Quit whining you dolt!!

      No one, esp the player, could foresee another setback that cost the team and the player nearly all of the season. Would he have been better at $4m? It’s totally irrelevant.

      The FO took an educated gamble. They’re doing what they can to evaluate whether he’s worth bringing back.

      • Jon

        really, you couldn’t foresee a rehabbing TJS patient getting a setback? You are definitely a short-bus rider.

        • cubsfanforever

          So you are saying the brass isn’t that bright? I tend to think they know more than myself.

  • Guy

    i think the Edwin Jackson experiment is an abject failure.

  • Jason Powers

    Lets put the Baker outing in perspective – he threw 55 pitches. His best velocity came on pitch 5 and 15. Meaning he pretty much backed off or he couldn’t get it up there again. He’s a ways off from being able to pitch out of trouble – have to see what he does when he has to throw 25 under duress tosses in inning. Let’s see how he bounces back then.

    So, I’m good with letting Baker finish out withe 2 or 3 more starts – but I have much more confidence Arrieta is in the rotation next year over Baker.

    Arrieta, for his command issues, at least has the velocity.
    Not that velocity is everything, but with some offseason work, Arrieta has the overall stuff to mold into a legit #3 starter – he has the 4seamer, sinker, and actually a decent curve, its his cutter, slider, or change that is inconsistent, go to (Brooks Pitch F/X) for more on that.


  • SenorCub

    How about putting Shark in the bullpen next year? Think about it. That’s where this team failed miserably at the beginning of the year. He can be lights out out of the pen. We’ve talked about him being a solid #3 with unrealized #2 potential. He’s not getting younger and through all of these years the one thing that he has shown is inconsistency. Just a thought but based on what everyone seems to say on this board is that he just isn’t the #1 or even #2 the team has been looking for.

    • willis

      I think, even with his struggles he brings more value as a starter for now. I’ve been disappointed with his season but I still think he’s a key rotation cog going forward.

      He needs to improve though, that’s for sure.

    • Edwin

      But who would replace Shark in the rotation? Even if Shark is only a league average productive pitcher, he’s still much more valuable in the roation than the pen. Unless shark is a borderline 5th best starting pitcher for the Cubs, it wouldn’t make sense.

    • Jason Powers

      That leaves us with “Action” Jackson and “Ed” Wood as the top of the rotation, unless we do some trading for “Vincent’ Price, likely as not, giving up “Joan” Baez. 😉

      • willis

        Yeah with the way things are right now, assuming not much action/additions in the offseason, he has to be in the rotation. There just isn’t a replacement.

      • DarthHater

        Thank you “Austin” Powers, International Man of Monickers. 😛

    • Eternal pessemist

      Putting shark in the pen is an unthinkable waste of value. The pen is generally reserved for pitchers who don’t have the stuff to get both righties and lefties out. They just can’t be successful starters and need to go into games with the lefty-lefty or righty-righty advantage. Remember that sharks stats, though less than hoped for, includes pitching to everyone without that advantage.

  • Jason Powers

    2013 Justin Grimm: Looks like he should never throw a slider – inconsistent is nice – which is why does not (3%). Sinker needs work (10%). Change (11%) and 4 seamer (49%) are good for their movement and consistency. Curve seems a bit more promising (27%).

    Grimm seems a bullpen guy at best right now. Seems a big issue is hitting the Strike Zone at a high rate. The when he does, it’s not a good outcome – hits or HRs. – maybe a confidence in stuff issue.


    • josh ruiter

      What exactly is your data supposed to show me? Am I reading it correctly that Grimm’s fastball has 10-15″ of vertical movement and that his curveball has 5-10″ of horizontal movement but negative vertical movement? I about guarantee I am reading it wrong, but what is the point of the data?