Cubs have no plans to use Scott Baker in the rotation

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When the Cubs signed Scott Baker to a one-year, $5.5 million contract they were hoping he’d return from Tommy John elbow surgery at some point during the first half and resume being a solid mid-rotation starter like he was for years with the Twins.

Instead he experienced multiple setbacks in his recovery and is just now getting close to returning to the majors, but the Cubs plan to stick Baker in the bullpen. “There’s no plans of doing any starting, unless there comes a point where we feel somebody needs a five-day break or something,” manager Dale Sveum explained to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.

Baker’s contract is a straight-up one-year deal with no option for 2014, so it’s looking like wasted money for the Cubs and he’s set to hit the open market again this offseason with just as many question marks attached as last winter.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.