Mariners, Indians “emerging as favorites” for Scott Baker

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Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Mariners and Indians are “emerging as favorites” among the 5-7 teams that have expressed serious interest in signing free agent starter Scott Baker.

Baker missed the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and made only three starts for the Cubs in 2013, but he had a 3.14 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2011 with the Twins and is expected to enter camp this year at full health.

Cotillo expects Baker to settle for a minor league contract. That’s a worthwhile gamble for any club.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.