Half-Baked

The Cubs have signed RHP Scott Baker for $5.5M, plus $1.5M in incentives. He became a free agent after the Twins declined his $9.5M option for 2013.

The Good: Baker will be playing his age 31 season and has a career 63-48 record and 3.44 K/BB ratio. His career rates are: 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9. He only costs $5.5M in guaranteed money which is pretty cheap for a starter that threw 170-200 innings in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The Bad: Baker is coming off "surprise" Tommy John surgery last April. He also missed time in 2011. His ERA+ for his career is just 102.

The Judgement: While most pitchers are back on the mound a year later or less after Tommy John surgery, it's my personal and casual observation that it takes a good 2-3 months after that for the pitcher to regain their full control and consistency. We may see some flashes of his old self, but I don't know if we'll see it start after start at the beginning of the season. And if they are attempting another Paul Maholm signing to try and flip him at the deadline, a good first half is a key part of that successful equation. Also, he's pretty damn mediocre before the injury (ERA+ starting from 2007: 101, 122, 100, 91, 129). It's not a lot of money, but this seems more like pitching depth than any type of solid foundation. Regardless of the Cubs likelihood to not be very competitive in 2013, I don't think it's wise to make unwise decisions. Sure the risk is moderate, but it's hard to see where the upside is any greater in this case. And while the Cubs new regime may have their moments of brilliance, they've also misfired on their evaluations as well (points and laughs at picture of Chris Volstad).  So ultimately it's a big old shrug of the shoulders on this one for me.

 

 

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  • Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.

    billybucks 12 min 31 sec ago view
  • Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.

    Eric S 28 min 33 sec ago view
  • It's still very early but this game felt very important to me and probably knocked 2 years off my life. Seemed like every inning was big.

    johann 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Yes then they moved him two spot then not so much, back batting 7th

    jacos 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • This is the exact game that the Cubs would have lost in years past to the Cardinals.

    The E-Man 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Arrieta starting. Leads of 6-1 and 9-4. You don't expect to have such a sense of relief when they win.

    Brick 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • phew

    Rob G. 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • At least the end result was worth the wait.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • I guess he's better than what they've had. He started out like the Babe there.

    The E-Man 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • Fair enough, but Castro isn't really very good.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • I can just hear Pat Hughes chortling "typical Cubs-Cards game..."

    JoePepitone 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • As long as Maddon uses him against RH he is good. Against LH - not so much.

    His recent HR's obviously have not been great pitches.

    So, let's just say my personal confidence in the guy is not there yet.

    The E-Man 1 hour 52 min ago view
  • not that I'm agreeing with E-Man in anyway here, but Warren's FIP and peripherals are not really good (5.20 FIP/5.19 BB/9/.128 BABIP), although his actual results are a lot better. Well until today...

    Trade was also to make room for Zobrist and it'll be a few years before we can really judge it.

    Rob G. 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • Eventually, the Maddon "play everyone everywhere" thing was going to create a problem.

    billybucks 2 hours 1 min ago view
  • This ump blows.

    Ryno 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • So much for pace-of-game.

    Ryno 2 hours 11 min ago view