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scott bakerAccording 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.

  • Javier Bryant

    Former Cub signing day! Guerrir (Sp?) signed with the Twins. Now Kevin Gregg just needs to sign today

  • Johnny Chess

    2nd Tier of Prospects/Trade candidates: Bjax – Vitters – Vogelbach – Junior Lake – and the bubble Olt Vs Top Tier/Keepers Baez – Bryant – Soler – Almora – Alcantara
    Leaving Villa Nueva Candelario Valbuena Any trade value here?

    • itzscott

      Checkmate…. you win.

      Have no idea what you’re getting at

    • Johnny Chess

      Do the Cubs have a 2nd Tier of tradable players worth something to another team?
      Does 3 or 4 get a top ten prospect from another farm system?

  • Blackhawks1963

    Only a minor league deal is revealing. Baker rehabilitated on the Cubs’ dime in 2013 and apparently still isn’t sound enough, even in a pitching starved market. Wish him well. Glad he is an ex-Cub though.

    • willis

      Yeah that was 5.5 wasted. Pretty amazing to take that risk as “broke” as they are.

      • Jon

        It’s amazing that we can’t overpay by any means for a talent like Tanaka but we can piss away 5.5 million here for a Scott Baker, 4.2 million there for a Ian Stewart. Much like personal finances, I think the Cubs would realize if you stop wasting money on the nonessential(ie. going out to eat every day) you could afford that big fancy vacation now and then.

        It all adds up over time.

        • itzscott

          >> we can piss away 5.5 million here for a Scott Baker, 4.2 million there for a Ian Stewart. <<

          I don't know, but if I'm Ricketts….. Theo's got some 'splaining to do!

          • Jon

            Between Scott Baker, Fujiwaka, and Ian Stewart, the Cubs had 12 million dollars hurt or pouting off somewhere in 2013.

            • DarthHater

              Yea, we need a new FO with guys who are smart enough to only sign players who don’t get injured!

              • hansman

                It’s all the rage with smrt front offices.

              • Jon

                Baker was coming off TJS. No pass there.

                They knew when not hurt, Stewie was also kind of a douche. No pass there.

                Fujiwaka you can give give a pass on, I guess.

                • DarthHater

                  Fuji was who I was referring to. As for Stewart, I agree with you (at least for the second signing). With guys coming off TJS, I think it’s a calculated risk. I have no factual basis to support a conclusion that the FO did not calculate the risk properly regarding Baker, so I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that the bad outcome was bad luck.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If the gall-darned Cubs would just go ahead and only sign the guys that wind up being good, they’d be fine!

        • YourResidentJag

          No, the amazing part is that people want to keep Shark around for the start of the 2014 season.

      • Ivy Eater

        It was wasted, sure, but 5.5MM for what COULD have potentially been a flippable asset is the exact risk that they should have been taking. It is unfortunate it didn’t work out, but it isn’t as if they committed tens of millions for an injury plagued guy.

        • Brocktoon

          I think Baker was signed with the intention if him filling a rotation spot of somebody who was flipped in order to avoid subjecting any of to the Casey Coleman experience

          • willis

            Well, then, that’s certainly worth the 5.5?

            It’s not even about taking the risk on him, it’s about the cubs always screaming poor yet pissing in the wind on someone like this. That’s what bugs me. If they never made any mention of financial restrictions and weren’t being run like a small market team, Baker wouldn’t bother me that much.

            • YourResidentJag

              Define small market team. I’d like to hear your answer. This big market team nonsense in this FA market for where the Cubs currently are with their prospects is complete rubbish.

              • Brocktoon

                Presumably operating at a payroll consistent with that of a team that doesn’t make tons of money

            • ari gold

              I swear we could win the World Series in 5, and certain posters would bitch and moan that we didn’t sweep it.

            • DarthHater

              To the extent that there has been any “screaming poor” (and that phrase is an exaggeration), I believe it has been with reference to the fact that the team is currently not in a financial position to have a total player payroll of $150 million or more. That does not mean that they must be too poor to risk $5.5 million on a TJS-recovering pitcher. With hindsight, it was an unsuccessful gamble, but that has nothing to do with any claims of team poverty (such as they are).

  • hawkboy64

    So the cubs got exactly what from baker 2013 wasn’t it 6 million dollars I thought the cubs might hve gtten him back on a very cheap minor league deal given tht baker basically got paid for nothing.

    • Jon

      There is no loyalty in sports. (Not suggesting there should be by any side either)

  • MightyBear

    I think the Cubs made a mistake not signing Baker. That Seattle contract is very reasonable and it usually takes time for your velocity to return even after you’ve made several starts (See Chris Carpenter twice). Baker could’ve been a veteran presence on a young pitching staff and in the clubhouse. Seems like there was a disconnect between front office and Baker after 2013.

  • Spoda17

    Well, this is as close as he could have gotten to his goal of pitching at the Polo Grounds… Seattle is a similar park…

  • itzscott

    Call it anything you want, but I think we can all agree that $5.5 million was an awful gamble on someone coming off of TJ and having not thrown a pitch in rehab yet to even deduce if the surgery could be successful or not.

    I know…. somebody’s going to ask how would anyone know to even deduce….

    You’d compare where Baker was in his rehab to other SUCCESSFUL TJ surgeries, that’s how.

    Still, $5.5 million without the incentives built in to get to that price was nuts.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Mariners to be in WS and match Seahawks brethren

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