You can scratch Scott Baker off the list free agent pitchers under the buy-low category. The Chicago Cubs announced that they have signed the rehabbing right hander to a one-year deal. The deal is reportedly worth $5.5 million, plus incentives according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Baker missed all of the 2012 season after undergoing right elbow-ligament replacement surgery. He had spent his entire career with the Minnesota Twins organization since being drafted in the second round of the 2003 amateur draft. Baker was having his finest season in 2011, holding a 3.14 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 3.61 xFIP to go along with 3.84 K/BB ratio in 134.2 innings before being shut down with elbow and hip problems.
The Twins elected to decline the 31-year old’s $9.25 option for 2013, thus allowing him to enter free agency. Baker underwent Tommy John Surgery on April 17, 2012, so his timeline for a return could fall anywhere between Spring Training and May depending on his recovery. He could fill the Cubs need for a mid-rotation starter if he’s healthy, thereby lessening the blow of the botched Dan Haren trade from a couple of weeks ago.
Baker has eclipsed 170 innings just three times in seven seasons with the Twins, with his career high of 200 coming in 2009 when he made 33 starts.