When They Pull Out a Knife, The Cubs Pull Out Jeff Baker

The Cubs countered the Cardinals acquisition of Mark DeRosa with one of their own, acquiring 2B/3B Jeff Baker from the Colorado Rockies. It's like countering a handgun with a slingshot. Seemingly running out of players to put on the disabled list, Baker is already on it with a left hand sprain suffered back in April, so he should fit right in with the Cubs. He did start a rehab assignment in mid-June, so I presume he's ready to play again and the Rockies were just out of roster space.

The player the Cubs are sending back is unknown at the moment, most likely a player to be named later.

UPDATE: The Cubs send Hi-A Daytona pitcher, Alberto Albequerque to the Rockies. I can't tell you anything about him other than he was having a nice season for the Cubs and he had shoulder surgery back in April of 2008.

UPDATE #2: The Cubs will DFA Ryan Freel to make room on the roster. They have 10 days to try and trade him for a spare minor league part, but chances are he'll just get released.

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Cubs give up Lord Voldemort, OF, as the Player Who Must Not Be Named Later.

So he's like a Mark DeRosa that isn't any good. Wonderful. Wouldn't it had just been better if they traded for DeRosa? Or better yet, not get rid of DeRosa?

What does Hendry have against good players this year?

where Baker fits in...

He doesn't take Miles or Blanco's spot since he can't backup shortstop. That means taking Ryan Freel or Jake Fox's spot, which doesn't seem like someone we needed to replace.

Unless he has options left, but then I would presume the Rockies wouldn't have traded him.

Well he plays the exact same positions as DeRosa and bats right handed, so all the people clamoring for DeRosa's return should be able to explain where he fits. Sam Fuld is also on the roster. Fuld and Baker would seem to make Freel redundant, or maybe the Cubs have another trade in mind with Fox being the centerpiece.

Maybe they want to make him a straight platoon partner with the Fontenaught. BP has him as an average 3B a hair below average at 2B and a pretty poor outfielder.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/bakerje03.php

I should add that it wouldn't surprise me to see Fonte-not get optioned at some point here....

I assume Fuld is just holding Reed's spot and either Fox or Freel gets sent away with Aramis coming back Monday. I guess the other one gets sent awy with Baker. 

~shrug~

Jimmy Rollins, guy who challenged for the longest hitting streak record a few years ago is 0-for in his last 27! at bats. That's 0-27, folks. No hits in his last 7 games, also sat for four games. Hasn't had a big league HIT for nearly half a month.

He dropped his OPS down to .569. It's puzzling because he's such a good contact hitter; He destroyed the WBC (24 AB, 417/500/750).

FYI... Aaron Miles: .500 OPS, 123 AB

We talked about him a bit a few days ago. Though I didn't examine that 0-27 streak, it doesn't seem like he's striking out a lot. According to fangraphs he's traded about 5% of his hit balls from line drives to fly balls, and his fly balls aren't leaving the park. Bad luck and not squaring up on the ball quite as well as he did in his 'MVP' season. He's a great buy low candidate for the Cubs, though the Phillies fans would probably burn the town down.

I'm not saying the Cubs should or should not go after him, I'm just saying other guys around baseball are also struggling. Unfortunately for the Cubs we have 4 or 5 of these guys.

I'd love to get him. It would improve us defensively at short and give us a 'reason' to get Soriano the hell out of the leadoff spot. We would need to give up a starter and Theriot, and I just don't see our starters being a good fit, unless they really like Zambrano. For Zambrano and Theriot I guess they'd have to add someone. Lilly would be the best fit for us to trade, but I doubt they would want to bring his flyballs into that ballpark.

*edit: BP indicates that Rollins is losing it as a shortstop. I didn't notice last year, and don't know if I've even watched a Phillies game this year.

That would be great. He's having a rough year, but he's NOT a 200 hitter. We all know that. The only problem I'd have with it is in the short term, this year, we already have so many guys under-performing, do you risk adding another under-performer? Plus the Cubs have relatively few trading chips (as in guys who are a good value for the money on their contract).

It's a post-roids post-greenies world out there.

It's sign the 16 year olds away from the family and friends day in Latin America.

BP Blogging on the deals- nothing for the Cubs yet.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=1327

Wagner Mateo, an outfielder the Cubs were supposedly in on went to the Cards for $3.1 million. $3.1 for a high school sophomore hitter? They can have him. There's just too much projection required for that kind of investment to me.

Info from rotoworld

Kind of off-topic, but I wonder if any big name US high school/college kids have ever thought about taking up residence in a Latin American country for a year so they can just be FAs instead of going in the draft.

What would Strasburg have gone for this year if he were available on the open market?

It would probably involve you renouncing your US or Canadian citizenship.

If that's the case, I'm shocked there hasn't been a class action lawsuit over this issue. It has to be some sort of right to work type thing since anyone in the US has to go play where they're assigned, whereas the rest of the world can just play for the highest bidder/the team they like the best. Bullshit if you ask me.

I think the Anti-Trust exemption MLB has plays a part in it. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can fill us in.

... and I don't buy, for even a minute, that he is the age he says he is... I bet he's closer to 20....

Aroldis Chapman has escaped the Cubans and is expected to get an MLB deal worth $30 to $60 million. 21 year old left hander who supposedly throws 100 MPH but needs work.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4302422

Another pass from me.

A couple Cubs things from the author if you go down to the comments.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=1327

The Cubs needed a guy who could play second and third and hit for a little pop?

What, Casey McGehee wasn't available?

I think Baker has more pop than McGehee and is also more versatile, having played every position but P, C and CF. I've always liked Baker and getting him for just an A ball pitcher is not bad at all. My only concern is that he's probably taking Jake Fox's roster spot, and I love Foxxy.

Looking at his career splits, one thing that pops out though is he's a .295 career hitter in Colorado and a .205 career hitter everywhere else.

He played last night! 0/3

FWIW, I like Jeff Baker...except for the "but he's injured" part. He hits the ball hard when he hits it.

i kind of remember Baker was a decent pinch hitter but couldn't find his split stats as a PH on the baseball reference site.

one thing I did notice though was his stats for Wrigley Field:

.500 .556 1.000 1.556

(9 at bats, hohoho...)

I do agree that Fontenot's roster spot is the most likely he will replace as Hendry addresses the importance of getting more right handed.

and I wonder what it will take to take have one of the disabled folks push Andy Blanco off the roster...since he's the only true SS on the team.

I think the Fontenaught by virtue of having to switch positions to cover for Miles and Ramirez's injuries is now a 'major leaguer' and won't get sent down. 2 weeks in Iowa to get his stroke back would seem like a good idea, but now that Joshua is here hopefully he can get straightened out in the bigs.

After reading MW's last post, I don't think I want Fontenot anywhere near whoever the new AAA hitting coach is.

Bakers career numbers as a pinch hitter: .173/.261/.247 OPS: .508

Welcome aboard!

I <3 this post. "Importance of getting more right-handed..." lolz

And as for Andy White... I love him. He's like what Cesar Izturis was SUPPOSED to be... a light-hitting infielder who could flash the glove. Problem was it seemed like Izturis only brought a C+ or B- glove. Andy White's brought a A+ glove so far.

And enough about Fontenot's bat suffering because of the move to 3B... that's excuse making. Truth is Fontenot isn't a good as many people think he is or want him to be.

He must be a special player, or at least mathematically gifted, if he can hit .500 with 9 AB.

Not sure where you are getting your splits, because Baseball Reference has these numbers for Baker at Wrigley:

.313/.353/.563 OPS: .915, in 17 plate appearances.

...on why Baker fits in this year:

career 158/617 Strikeout rate, 25.6% of his mlb at bats.

(soriano career is at 23.6%)

Jim Hendry strikes again!

ESPN says we coughed up Alberto Alburquerque.

That's a pity, I love that name. He sounds like a film Noir detective.

That's a nomenclature crime right up there with trading Rocky Roquet, Rocky Cherry, or Boof Bonser.

"Alburquerque, 23, was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 relief appearances at Daytona, with 36 strikeouts to 18 walks."

Rockies immediately promoted him to AA. And Baker is supposed to be on the field and available tonight.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090702&c...

He's not really my type, but I bet there's a lot of single women in Chicago who would love to date a ballplayer.

"36 strikeouts to 18 walks."

MILB.com has him at 44 strikeouts, 14 walks.

I keep a list of Cub pitching prospects ranked according to K/9 minus H/9. Basically it's a list of guys with more Ks than hits allowed--the unhittables. Marmol is a good example: he gives up BBs, not hits.

Anyway, Albuquerque has been moving up the list all season, and is in 6th place today. 34.2 innings, 26 hits, 14 walks, 44 strikeouts, 3.14 K/BB, 1.17 WHIP, 11.58 K/9, 6.84 H/9.

So he's not the guy I would have traded.

Considering what we gave up, trading for Baker is a fine gamble. If he fails, all you really lost was a decent minor league pen arm, not the end of the world. I don't really like Baker all that much, but whatever. I imagine he'll get the shot at 2nd base.

Seems like it's going to be another quiet international signing period for us, in regards to the big time talent.

Interesting how the Cubs decided to focus revenue to Australiasia yet rarely if ever goes for top Latin American players.

The Real Neal mocked me for stating we should try to sign all of our draft picks (and therefore draft more players in late rounds that fall for signability reasons) to try and further develop our farm system. Personally I think a realistic effort, overpaying for some (though not to an unreasonable level). Two examples from this draft are Erickson and Addison Dunn. Both are players that appear to have major league potential, both are unlikely to sign.

I feel the same about international signings. The Real Neal scoffs at spending significant money on high school sophomores. And from past history and looking at the players individually, it is unlikely a particular player will make the majors, much less be a star. But if you scout well and sign many of them, you can potentially find Vladimir Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano. And the Cubs sign all their draft picks and some of them (like Lincecum, Laporta, Greene, etc.).

I think my ideas could have cost $80-$100 million over the last 10 years. But it would have saved some of that money by removing some of our free agent signings (not sure Marquis ever signed, Dempster not resigned, etc.).

I am sure this idea will be mocked. And probably 9 out of 10 times (if not more) the signings will not make major impact on the Cubs. But a few successes and the Cubs could have more stars on their team from the farm. And for a team that depends so heavily on free agents for its stars(our whole starting OF, for example), rebuilding our system to where it was earlier this decade (or better) would be great. And money needs to be spent to do it.

The Real Neal and myself scoff at how naive you're being, not at the idea that the Cubs or any team should spend on amateur talent.

Sorry if I came off as mocking. It's just that, look at the low percentages of guys who are first round picks who become stars. If you drop an average of $2 million on say, 10 'overdraft' kids and latin kids every year, that's $20 million a year. How do you get to $80 to $100 million over $10 years? Note, the Cubs are already spending probably $5 million a year on these kids bonuses, and some years (Prior, Smardizija, Vitters) more.

You're just not being realistic. You're assuming that way too high a percentage of these guys are even going to become Jason Marquis (who was a 35th overall pick).

fwiw, BA says Cubs have spent 2.8M, 3.8M, 5M, 6.1M and 5.5M on the draft since 2004. That doesn't include international signings which would probably add another $1-2M. I assume they're spending less this year with the ownership issue and the lower pick.

This is complete bullshit--the kind of trade Hendry excels at.

This is like putting another (rickety) deck chair on the Titanic.

Sent sound: meh.

This is complete bullshit--the kind of trade Hendry excels at.

Really? This is what Hendry excels at? I guess... if we completely ignore Harden, Ramirez, Lee, etc.

Hendry has actually been quite successful in his trading, especially on bigger trades.

New hubcaps on a Yugo.

with whose spot Baker is taking...

I hope it's Mike Quade's

If it's been mentioned, I apologize. But I hadn't realized that Casey's newborn passed away until reading this article. Best wishes to his family for the tragic circumstances they are going through. http://www.idahostatesman.com/sports/story/806469..... He's back with Boise now.

So Freel is the fall guy. A week ago that would have made more sense as he looked lost, but getting to play a couple of days in a row he looked like he was just beginning to become the Ryan Freel Sparkplug we used to see in Cincy.

Interesting.

Cubs might have signed a catcher from Venezuela named Wilson Contreras...

http://twitter.com/jorgearangure/status/2438567866

He's 17, was eligible to sign last year. Interesting...

Bruce Miles adds this about why the Cubs DFA'd Freel...

"they didn't like his comments last weekend about how he implied the club didn't believe he was hurt."

It's the third comment here...

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/2232

Dear club...

How about let's not worry about what people are saying and start worrying about fielding a good product.

And keeping Freel is really going to make this team a good product, and cutting him will keep the Cubs from fielding a good product?

Well the Cubs seem to be starting a pattern here. First Vizcaino, now Freel.

Indians DFA'd him recently too. So Baker for Marquis.

I'd rather have kept Marquis. Then I'd trade him...about now...for someone good.

You mean the same Vizcaino who has since been cut by the Indians? And the same Ryan Freel who was left on the DL because the Orioles didn't want him on the roster?

Again, it isn't like either of these players being gone will hurt the Cubs from fielding a good product.

Freel or no Freel, the Cubs haven't shown any signs of being able to field a good product all year. I just said that Freel finally started to show signs of life in the last few days, but if Baker is going to get any real playing time, and ARam is about to return, Freel wouldn't be getting any ab's either so it doesn't matter.

I think that history shows that you do need a good backup for Ramirez, and maybe Fox or Baker can be that guy, but I agree that Freel started to show some signs of life, and a backup 3B/CF isn't really a very common skill set.

We must not be watching the same bullpen.

Cleveland arguably has a worse bullpen than the Cubs, and they cut Vizcaino.

I really don't think that the Cubs are missing anything by "losing" Vizcaino.

No, absolutely Freel isn't the guy that's going to put the club over the top, but neither is Baker. It just seems petty to complain about something Freel said in a time when the front office failed at putting the best 25-man team together.

I didn't say that Baker would put the Cubs over the top. My point is that "losing" Freel isn't going to hurt.

When you are the 24th or 25th man on a roster, you can't expect to get away with saying stupid shit.

They were just talking about Hendry on WSCR and his fascination lately with who is saying what and what reporters are talking about, especially with Milton Bradley. I'm trying to figure it all out, but my hunch is the clock is ticking on Hendry and he knows it.

For as much as I dislike Hendry, I hope that whomever becomes the GM after him, be it after the season or 5 years from now, they better have Hendry's desire to go for it all and want to build a winner. We've had so many truly shitty GM's through the years I couldn't take going back to that style of mismanagement. I'd rather have someone like Hendry who goes for it and fails than someone like McPhail or Lynch or all the other stiffs who do nothing.

Cubs are pissed about the Bradley leak, seems Witty got it from a WSox reporter who got it from some Wsox security guys...at least that's what Andy at Desipio heard. (After wrote an article assuring everyone that Milton Bradley was the actual leak).

Opening sentence from the Mustache. "Ryan Freel wasn't the answer." I think that sums it all up.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

It was hard for Jim to find a 3rd basemen with a lower batting average than the .143 that Freel put up for the Cubs, but mission accomplished.

Hendry has made a lot of trades for scrub bench/bullpen players this year - and wasted millions of dollars in the process

Stevens, Gaub and Archer better be pretty good

Ughhhhh

Probably should post it in the Iowa thread, but Matt Craig came home to fill out the AAA lineup. He was scuffling a bit in New Orleans this year. Let's hope the I-Cubs can get some offense going.

Scrap pack or scrap heap?

Re: #20: Joshua's replacement @ Iowa is Desi Wilson...

Desi Wilson? Isn't that Flip Wilson in drag?

Come on, Paul, stop being a moran! (in case you missed it in an earlier post)...

http://motivatedphotos.com/?id=5098

Isn't the shirt just beautifully fitting?

Paul - in case you didn't get it, I wasn't really calling you a moron; I was trying to find a place to add in this link, which I think is hilarious.

I always love it when people call other people "morans", because it is irony (and white trashiness) at its finest!

I got it. I think that picture was up at Desipio for a long time, or was it here? I haven't seen it in about a year.

the poster is something we call 3/44 my friend.

Apologies for being a moran, friends... I've only been frequenting this site for 6 months now, so I have no knowledge of what has been posted before that (and no desire to look back and find out).

Sorry for my ignorance - where does the 3/44 come from? By now, I realize it means "old news", but how did it come about?

It's Jason Schmidt's contract with the Dodgers. A lot of TCRers broke the news those first two days, and then again the day after that.

Jason Schmidt's contract with the Dodgers. News of it was broken over and over again.

I was merely giving you a mild ribbing. I know you are newish.

3/44 comes from the day that the news broke that the Cubs had offered free agent (at the time) Jason Schmidt a 3 year 44 million dollar contact.

People posted it about a 100 times. And actually, I was the one who coined the term.

Oh yeah, long time ishers, it was me.

now you see a meta-3/44

there was a rumor that the Cubs offered Jason Schmidt a contract for three years/$44 million and everyone kept repeating  the news and links for the next day or two and then it became a TCR meme...3/44 for repeating ourselves.

It was replaced briefly by Scott Eyre is broke, but that doesn't quite ring like 3/44.

Thanks, guys and Chad, for the explanation. I was actually scared that it was some sort of gay leet-speak, or crap like that...

Well, it is true that you're now gay. Someone upthread should have mentioned that.

Dang it all, now I need to start waxing my bum and give the old lady the heave ho...

Oh good, Phil Rogers is on MLB Network right now.

Astros/Pads game is being delayed because of "a swarm of bees in left field"

MLB Network showed a shot of bees trying to fill up a player's jacket in the bullpen. The players are supposedly hiding in the dugout waiting for the bees to leave or be killed.

AP has a story now...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5...

Fuld LF
Theriot SS
Lee 1B
Bradley RF
Fox 3B
Fukudome CF
Soto C
Fontenot 2B
Dempster P

no soriano, eh?

what is up with that?

after going 200ab's without doing anything he finally shows signs of life and is benched for 2 days? okay...

ah...hitting drills.

Not to harp on the MLB Network posts, but they are doing the Cubs game tonight if you're out of market.

Submitted by Rob G. on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 8:53am.
where Baker fits in...

He doesn't take Miles or Blanco's spot since he can't backup shortstop. That means taking Ryan Freel or Jake Fox's spot, which doesn't seem like someone we needed to replace.

Unless he has options left, but then I would presume the Rockies wouldn't have traded him.

==================================

ROB G: Jeff Baker is out of minor league options, and has been since 2007. He signed a Major League contract and was added to the Rockies 40-man roster straight out of Clemson post-2002 (he was a teammate of Khalil Greene at Clemson), and he was optioned to the minors in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 (he got four minor league options under the so-called "Todd Van Poppel Rule").

Baker can refuse an Outright Assignment and opt for free-agency beginning on 8/15 when he reaches three years of MLB ST, but if he were to get outrighted prior to that date he could not refuse the Outright Assignment  

Also, Baker will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time in his career post-2009, unless he gets non-tendered on 12/12/09 (or gets outrighted prior to 8/15/09).

TCR 2009 Cubs Payroll, 40-man Roster, and Depth Chart have been updated.

As for Alberto Alburquerque, he has had arm problems (elbow and shoulder) for much of his carerer, but he's finlly healthy this season and was throwing in the mid-90's at Daytona.

I would compare him to Marcos Mateo (but Alburquerque has a better fastball), and as of right now, I would have rated Alburquerque as one of the Top 5 minor leaguers most-likely to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2009 (along with Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Tyler Colvin, and John Gaub).

Yeck. Add Gaub, let the rest dangle.

Maybe aaron miles is more hurt then we think and will be out a long time (like we hope). I heard no news of a rehab assignment for.

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