In yesterday’s Brent Morel post (or was it yesterday’s Brett Morel post?) I wrote a little bit about Jeff Baker, the free agent lefty-masher with positional versatility who seemed like such an obvious fit for the Jays — at least until this afternoon, when Jon Heyman tweeted that he’d agreed to a two-year deal with the Marlins, while Joel Sherman added that it’s for $3.7-million. Mostly I was trying to dream up ways that the club could conceivably justify passing on him, given the paucity of platoon options for Adam Lind currently available in-house, and the fact that last year he saw time at first, second, third, in left field, right field, and at DH.
All we’ve really ever heard about why the Jays weren’t being linked more strongly to Baker, as far as I’ve come across, is what Mike Wilner had to say about him on last week’s edition of The Blue Jays This Week on the Fan 590.
“Jeff Baker would be perfect,” he explained. “He’s a free agent out there, and late of the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. And he can play six positions poorly, and he can wail on lefties. But I’ve talked to a number of people out in the baseball world about him, and the consensus is that this is a really, really bad dude, who you don’t want anywhere near your clubhouse. Which is why the Blue Jays haven’t moved on him.”
That was certainly a new one to me, but it’s not like I’m doing a lot of talking to the sorts of people who would know enough about Baker to make such claims. I was, however, able to put the suggestion out there on Twitter to see if anyone might be able to confirm that which, as far as I have been able to ascertain, only Wilner has said. Lo and behold, Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio, and Baseball Prospectus’s outstanding Fringe Average podcast took up the mantle.
@AndrewStoeten I asked someone about that today & they were surprised by it. Not sure he’s had an impact either way on clubhouses.
— Mike Ferrin (@MikeFerrinSXM) February 4, 2014
Ferrin added that he hadn’t heard any of this on Baker himself, but cautioned that none of this means what Wilner is hearing isn’t true.
What struck me more, though — and what caused me to raise the issue again on Twitter, which prompted the above exchange — was a tweet from Jon Morosi, who yesterday said that he had spoken to Scott Boras, and that the über-agent told him he was very close to deals on his clients Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Suk-Yin Moon, and… Jeff Baker.