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  • Does A Deal With Scott Baker Make Sense?

    Will Scott Baker Return?Yesterday, teams looking for free agent starting pitching this offseason were dealt a minor blow by the Texas Rangers. Colby Lewis, the solid starting pitcher of the Rangers, re-signed with them at the bargain price of $2 million plus incentives.

    If that sounds shrewd, its continuing a trend. Lewis has been outpacing the relatively meager sums the Rangers have been paying him since they signed him when he returned from Japan. In the three years since, he has thrown 500 innings for them with a 3.93 ERA. He was scheduled to be a free agent in a couple of months, his chance to make really big money.

    That changed back in July. Lewis came out of game with pain in his forearm. A few days later he was diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon which was going to cause him to miss the rest of the season. While he should be OK to begin next season, it was unlikely any team was going to offer him the big multi-year deal his recent performance deserved. They would want a shorter, incentive-laden deal to make sure they werent burned. But Texas beat them to that punch, signing Lewis to a $2M deal with the chance to make $4M in incentives.

    The Twins could face a similar opportunity with one of their own pitchers. Scott Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery he had in April. He might be ready for the beginning of the year, or soon thereafter, though hell likely face an inning limit at some point next year. This offseason, hell also be looking for a deal like Lewis was short, incentive-based, and looking to rebuild interest in his considerable talent.

    The Twins could offer him that right now, a month before any other team can consider it. A deal similar to that signed by Lewis would keep Baker in the organization during his rehab, give the Twins some cost certainty about the price of their rotation and cross off one more spot they need to fill on the free agent market.

    However, a Twins-Baker contract would need one additional aspect: a team option on 2014. It could be a fairly expensive option perhaps $8M so both Baker and the team feel like they would reap the rewards of a successful recovery. I dont know if either side is exploring this kind of a deal, but it makes a lot of sense to a pitcher that needs a team and a team that needs pitching.
    This article was originally published in blog: Should Twins Sign Scott Baker Now? started by John Bonnes
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Absolutely they should try to do it.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I'm all for it.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I wondered the same thing when I read about Lewis' deal with the Rangers. Seems like the model for a possible Baker offer.

      Here's my question, though... if Baker and his agent want exactly the same deal that Lewis got, without the 2014 option, do you sign him up for 2013 on the same terms?
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Well, if he thinks he can compete with all the talent in spring training...

      Ha ha, painful joke.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Non sense, Baker is shot.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Sure, at those prices, sure. But, he would need to be your fifth or sixth option. He cannot be counted on as a top 3 guy.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Chances are he won't do much until may-june. Not sure that helps us much. How many 30 yr old guys have come back and been good the first year?
    1. jharaldson's Avatar
      jharaldson -
      I don't know why Baker would want to sign with us with our medical staff causing him an 8 month delay in his recovery.

      July 5th 2011 - Scott Baker is shut down for 18 days to see if rest will help his elbow.
      August 8th 2011 - Scott Baker is shut down for 44 days to see if rest will help his elbow.
      September 24 2011 - Scott Baker is shut down for the offseason to see if an even longer rest will help his elbow.
      April 11 2012 - Scott Baker undergoes surgery for a tendon repair surgery with a 6 month timeframe that turns into Tommy John with a 12-18 month timeframe for recovery.

      I understand that rest is frequently advised with injuries but I would think after the second time of 44 days didn't do anything that they might have explored surgery at the end of 2011 instead of at the beginning of the season. If I were Baker I would be pissed this team cost him a decent contract in 2013 because he lacked recovery time from his surgery. I would also be pissed because in the back of my mind I would think that maybe if I had the surgery and didn't stress the elbow so much with all these comebacks that maybe I would have only needed the tendon repair.

    1. gmarais66's Avatar
      gmarais66 -
      I'm leaning toward signing him, but with the expectation that he probably won't pitch for the Twins until June... Look at how long it took Nathan to get back to normal... Every pitcher that has TJ is different, so it's a real gamble, and Baker has always been a bit inconsistent anyway... If they sign him for $1-2 million with incentives, it would certainly reduce the risk... If he works out great, if he doesn't, you don't lose much...
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Don't they have to wait till the offseason to decline his 2013 option on the existing deal? I don't think they can work out a deal right now.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      ... Matt Capps will begin facing batters this week. He could rejoin the Twins’ bullpen for their final series of the season
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Chances are he won't do much until may-june. Not sure that helps us much. How many 30 yr old guys have come back and been good the first year?
      Wainwright came back just fine this year, he's 30. Chris Carpenter came back and pitched well at age 29, but maybe it's a St. Louis thing.

      I'm OK with bringing back Baker on a reasonable deal, but what happens to the perception of the front office if they do re-sign him or for that matter Pavano or Capps? Fans aren't going to see Scott Baker and think of him as an exciting new off-season acquisition, in fact most fans aren't going to think of him as an acquisition at all seeing as he's always been with the Twins and lately he's been a part of the terrible Twins. Of course when the front office tries to promote it's offseason signings, Baker WOULD be included when they sit down for an interview with Neal or Chirstianson come March to discuss how they upgraded the rotaion. In other words, what ever the Twins have planned as far as free agent money, don't bother trying to deduct the price of Baker from that budget because the fans wont be buying that Baker is new money spent.

      Like I said, I'd re-sign Baker, but from a PR standpoint, the front office may be better off using that money on a new name to try to sell everyone that they are attemtping to head in a new direction.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      30yr old pitchers arent put on pitch counts.....esp on a 1 or 2 yr deal
      With a late april/early may surgery....Baker should be throwing seriously by late Feb/early march.
      He easily could be ready for start of season as most pitchers on tj recovery are throwing fully by 1 full yr. Even if its May 1st...thats fine.
      He's better than ANY picher Terry Ryan will seriously look at.....go for it
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      Sure, Lewis got $2M and then can make up to $6M with # of appearances and time on the major league roster, so a similar deal would work. We paid Marquis $3M this year for nothing.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      I wondered the same thing when I read about Lewis' deal with the Rangers. Seems like the model for a possible Baker offer.

      Here's my question, though... if Baker and his agent want exactly the same deal that Lewis got, without the 2014 option, do you sign him up for 2013 on the same terms?
      I just don't see it working without the option. I think there's a huge question about when Baker might be ready to pitch next season. Given that it could be late summer before he's ready, there has to be some added incentive for the team. And that comes in the form of a 2014 option (that option could easily be in the $8 - $10 million range -- the team's control is actually more important than the exact amount as long as its not exorbitant).
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      If Baker will sign that same deal, the Twins should do it in a second.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Why would Baker sign an incentive laden deal now with Twins?? First they have $9 mill option that they have to formally decline. Wouldnt he then wait to see what other teams offer?? If Twins do it before free agency--they would probably have to guarantee at least $4 mill--cause Baker will otherwise say he will hope to get that much on market...
    1. joeboo_22's Avatar
      joeboo_22 -
      I'm not saying NO, but I do have some issues on this. 1st. will he be ready by May 1st? 100%? Can he pitch 180 innings? Where is his velocity at in comparison? where is his control at? If he can't be ready until the middle of June, and his fast ball is sitting at 86 and his control isn't there. Then even a 2 million incentive base deal isn't a good one.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Offer Baker what Lewis got and run screaming for joy if he takes it.
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      Zero chance the twins sign him to a penny guaranteed in the first year. Almost zero chance they give any pitcher 8 million in 2014.
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