Two months ago Scott Baker said he’d like to remain in Minnesota after missing this season following Tommy John elbow surgery and yesterday during a radio interview with 1500-ESPN general manager Terry Ryan made it clear that the Twins are interested in keeping him around.
Baker has a $9 million option for 2013 that’s certain to be declined, making the 31-year-old right-hander a free agent, but Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that the two sides are “working now on a new deal” and talked to a team source who says re-signing Baker is a “high priority.”
An incentive-laden one-year deal would make sense given that Baker is no sure thing to be ready by Opening Day and the Twins are basically rebuilding their entire rotation. When healthy he’s been a solid mid-rotation starter, posting a 3.98 ERA in 821 innings since 2007 while consistently ranking among the league leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio, but even before the surgery his durability was often in question.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.