The Chicago Cubs needed pitching and on Tuesday went out and got some of that with the signing of former Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Baker to a one-year contract. Baker will get $5.5 million with up to $1.5 million more in incentives. This is the kind of deal that Cubs fans should come to expect this offseason with no big free agency splashes upcoming.
Baker is a nice pitcher who will fit into the No. 3 or 4 slot in the Cubs 2013 rotation behind Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. Baker did miss the whole 2012 season coming off Tommy John surgery but is a dependable pitcher otherwise with a career ERA of 4.15 but did have a 3.14 ERA in 2011 for the Twins so maybe Baker can get back to some of that when he gets to the North Side. The obvious key is keeping the ball down at Wrigley Field.
I like this move to be honest, I wasn’t expecting major free agent pitchers to want to come to Chicago and pitch for a Cubs team that may lose 95-100 games again in 2013 while the bigger pieces of the puzzle are still in the minor leagues. Hopefully, Baker can pitch well enough to stay in the rotation past 2013 but it is more likely that if Baker pitches even close to his 2011 level, he will get traded at the trade deadline just like Paul Maholm did in 2012 for the Cubs. This is definitely a temporary piece for a Cubs team that needs pitching more than anything with all their top prospects being everyday players.