Twins decline $9.25 million option on Scott Baker

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Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins have declined their $9.25 million option on Scott Baker, making him a free agent after the 31-year-old right-hander missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery.

The move was expected, but the two sides have reportedly been negotiating a new deal that could keep Baker in Minnesota for a lesser salary. They have until Friday at midnight to work something out before Baker hits the open market.

When healthy Baker has consistently been a solid mid-rotation starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios, but even before elbow surgery he lacked durability. Given the Twins’ wide open starting rotation an incentive-laden one-year contract, perhaps with an option for 2014, could make sense for both sides.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.