Scott Baker’s comeback from Tommy John surgery will take place in Chicago, as the Cubs announced that they’ve signed the rehabbing right-hander to a one-year deal. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the contract is worth $5.5 million in guaranteed money, with another $1.5 million in potential incentives.
Baker has spent his entire career with the Twins after being a second-round pick in 2003, emerging as a solid mid-rotation starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios and questionable durability. He missed all of this year following elbow surgery and is no sure thing to be ready for Opening Day, but if healthy he should provide good value.
Baker had a 3.14 ERA and 123/32 K/BB ratio in 135 innings in 2011, giving him a 3.98 ERA in 134 starts since joining the Twins’ rotation full time in 2007.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.
In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.
There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.