Jeff Baker Rumors

Cubs Do Not Intend To Trade Jeff Baker

Despite being "open for business," the Cubs will not trade utility man Jeff Baker according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Rival executives are saying Chicago envisions him as part of their team next season.

Baker, 30, is hitting .304/.324/.422 in 139 plate appearances this year, and he's played the three non-shortstop infield positions as well as the corner outfield spots. The FOX scribes say the Cubs are under no pressure to shed payroll, and Baker is making just $1.175MM this year and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next season. The Red Sox and Indians have reportedly shown interest in him. 


Olney On Deadline Plans For NL Teams

The trade market is still developing at this point in the season, but it’s starting to take shape. Buster Olney outlines the plans for National League teams in a highly recommended insider-only piece at ESPN.com. Here are the details:

  • The Dodgers can’t make long-term investments in young stars like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw because of their uncertain financial status. The Los Angeles front office is now gathering information about some of their trade candidates and taking calls on some players. No teams have called on Jamey Carroll yet, though the Rockies are interested.
  • James Loney and Casey Blake have next to no trade value, as Olney explains.
  • No team has called about Jose Reyes, who won’t be traded for anything less than a top prospect and a solid secondary prospect.
  • Rival executives expect the Phillies to acquire proven veterans this summer.
  • Though the Astros will listen to offers on Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez, they will be asking a lot for them.
  • The Braves are checking out available hitters. Some rival executives have speculated on the possibility that the Braves will consider trading Jair Jurrjens, whose stock has never been higher.
  • Some rival executives think B.J. Upton will be a borderline non-tender candidate this offseason. Upton will earn a raise from $4.825MM next year and he currently has a .223/.308/.396 line with 20 steals. I can’t envision the Rays non-tendering Upton, who would presumably have trade value if Tampa made him available.
  • The Padres have told teams that they’re ready to take offers for Heath Bell and Mike Adams. Rival clubs believe Adams will be harder to obtain than Ryan Ludwick.
  • The Rockies will wait a few weeks before deciding whether to buy or sell.
  • The Giants are looking for catching help and Ramon Hernandez is a possible upgrade, as I explained earlier in the week.
  • The Reds are concerned about starting pitching and will consider making moves for upgrades at left field or shortstop. Though rival teams don’t expect Reyes to end up in Cincinnati, GM Walt Jocketty may be aggressive enough to make a deal happen.
  • GM Jim Hendry says there won’t be a fire sale, but the Cubs are “open for business,” Olney reports. Jeff Baker and Kerry Wood are “among the most coveted players in the trade market,” since they’re cheap and useful. Rival executives have mixed opinions about Carlos Pena, who is powerful but streaky.
  • Wood is near the top of Arizona’s list of targets.
  • The 40-39 Pirates will look for modest ways to improve and won’t be selling.

Red Sox Notes: Cameron, Navarro, Miller

Despite today’s loss, the 44-30 Red Sox have proven that they’re one of baseball’s top teams. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox from Peter Gammons of MLB Network, who joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show today (Audio here, Ryan Hannable has the highlights):

  • The Red Sox may consider pursuing a right-handed hitting outfielder, since there’s some concern about Mike Cameron. Gammons mentions Jeff Baker of the Cubs and Ryan Spilborghs of the Rockies as possible targets for Boston.
  • Minor league infielder Yamaico Navarro is recovering from an oblique injury, but the Red Sox could call on the versatile prospect if they need depth later in the summer. "I know they think that he’s going to be a really important guy to this team, because he’s got so much versatility,” Gammons said. “He’s so young. And he’s grown up a lot in the last year.” Navarro has a .283/.387/.538 line at Triple-A this year.
  • The Red Sox envision Andrew Miller as someone who has “the potential of being a big-time power starter” rather than a reliever, Gammons said. The left-hander made his Red Sox debut this week, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits, three walks and three runs while stiking out six.


Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Red Sox, Capps, Padres

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in…

  • If the Red Sox have one need, it's a right-handed hitter that can play multiple positions and come off the bench. Jeff Baker of the Cubs fits the bill, but Yamaico Navarro could be an in-house solution. He's on the minor league disabled list with an oblique issue, however.
  • The Twins usage of Matt Capps could impact the way teams view him at the trade deadline and as a free agent after the season. The righty has thrown multiple innings six times already, and is dealing with some forearm issues.
  • Team are calling the Padres about not just Heath Bell, but also Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson. They will listen to offers for all of their relievers, but they have to get the right bats in return to move them.
  • Mitch Talbot will get a few more starts for the Indians following his elbow issue, but righty Zach McAllister represents an alternative. They acquired him from the Yankees for Austin Kearns last year.

Cubs Avoid Arbitration With Jeff Baker

The Cubs avoided arbitration with infielder Jeff Baker, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, agreeing to a one-year, $1.175MM deal.  Baker, 29, hit .272/.326/.413 in 224 plate appearances for the Cubs this year while playing mainly second and third base.  Arbitration eligible for the second time, he receives a $200K raise for 2011.


Cubs May Continue Trading

The Cubs have already traded Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, but they may not be done yet. Yesterday’s deal could actually be a precursor to more moves in August.

''It's hard to say if it'll be the last one,'' assistant GM Randy Bush told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''Anything that we can do that we feel is to the betterment of the organization we're going to continue to look at.''

Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Xavier Nady could be traded this month. Fukudome makes $13.5MM next year, so his contract would clear waivers. Nady, who has just under $1MM remaining on his contract this year, could also be traded. He drew some interest from the Rangers back in July.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.

(more…)


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Players Tendered Contracts

Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.


Cubs Acquire Jeff Baker, DFA Ryan Freel

12:07pm: In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated Ryan Freel for assignment, according to a team press release. Freel, 33, put up an OPS of .369 in 14 games for the Cubs. 

11:27am: ESPN.com's Bruce Levine reports that the Rockies receive right-hander Alberto Alburquerque, who was pitching in A ball for the Cubs. The 23-year-old has struck out 44 and allowed 40 baserunners in nearly 35 innings pitched this year.

8:41am: The Cubs acquired Jeff Baker from the Rockies, according to Yahoo Sports. It's unclear what the Rockies will receive in exchange for the infielder. Baker, 28, has played in just 12 games this year for Colorado, but he posted a respectable .791 OPS in over 100 games last year. He's played all four corner positions in his five-year career, but he's played mostly at second base.


Rosenthal On Sheffield, Repko, McPherson

A look at Ken Rosenthal's column from yesterday afternoon…

  • The Marlins chose Ross Gload over Frank Catalanotto, but are still considering signing Cat for the minimum now that he's been released. 
  • The Braves are not interested in bringing back Gary Sheffield.  Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Mets (as well as the Phillies and Reds) have an eye on Sheffield.
  • Sheffield is apparently the only right-handed hitter on the Phillies' radar.  Rosenthal learned that the Rockies' asking price for Jeff Baker is high.
  • The Braves almost made a deal for Dodgers outfielder Jason Repko, but backed off recently.
  • The Yankees will pass on Dallas McPherson, but the Giants may consider him.
  • The Yanks don't seem desperate to move Melky Cabrera.  They've received multiple calls on him but Rosenthal says "the team will only move him for the right price."