According to various reports, former Chicago Cubs starter Scott Baker has been holding out for a Major League deal this offseason. That probably put the Cubs out of the running, as they weren’t going to commit a big league roster spot to Baker right now, given the existence of similar “depth” options already on the roster (and in on minor league deals).
But, today, Chris Cotillo reports that Baker has ended up settling for a minor league deal with the Mariners. The Cubs and Baker each indicated after the season that they’d like to reunite for 2014, but it wasn’t to be.
Signing with the Mariners would make some sense for Baker, as he might have a good shot of making that rotation out of Spring Training, and he could pitch well in the still-fairly-spacious confines of Safeco Field. The deal comes with a $1 million big league salary if Baker makes the team (and sizable incentives from there if he stays on the roster), per Cotillo, and Baker chose it over competing offers from the Indians, Rangers, and Royals.
It would have been nice to retain Baker on a minor league deal, but hopefully he gets back on track in Seattle. After a prolonged recovery from Tommy John surgery, Baker made just a few starts for the Cubs at the end of the year, and his velocity remained down. The Cubs got a look at him, and at least one side decided it wasn’t a good fit.
Everyone moves on from the failed 2013 gamble. Baker’s issues were a reminder that, as far as medical procedures have come over the years, Tommy John surgery is not a 100% kinda thing, especially in the short-term.