Jeff Baker Rumors
TODAY: Baker has officially elected to become a free agent, according to MLB.com's transactions page.
OCTOBER 9: The Rangers announced that they have designated Jeff Baker for assignment. The infielder was taken off of the 40-man roster to make room for right-handed pitcher Matt West to be activated off of the 60-day disabled list. The move doesn't make a huge difference in the Rangers' plans as Baker is set to hit the open market this winter.
Baker had a strong .279/.360/.545 slash line in a small sample size of 175 plate appearances this season. The 32-year-old, who also has experience in the outfield, has a career slash line of .267/.321/.440 over parts of nine big league seasons. Last winter, the Yankees were among the clubs that showed interest in Baker when they were in the hunt for a right-handed outfield bat.
To keep track of Baker and all other players in DFA limbo, check out the MLBTR DFA Tracker.
The Astros are 5-16 against the Athletics, Mariners and Rangers this season, but are 7-3 against the Angels following their four-game sweep of the Halos in Anaheim. After last night's defeat, Angels manager Mike Scioscia held a closed-door team meeting and told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that "it seems like these four games, a switch flipped off" for his club. "A series like this certainly can bring the frustration back into the team. We can't let that happen," Scioscia said.
Here's the latest from around the division...
- The Angels are likely to be buyers or inactive at the trade deadline, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez opines. Gonzalez would "be shocked" to see the Halos start selling significant talent at the deadline since he doesn't believe they would give up on the 2014 season as well, plus, "the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton contracts don’t really let you go into rebuild mode."
- The Mariners have no need to pursue an extension with Kendrys Morales now since they'll have leverage on him in free agency this winter, Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog writes. If the M's make Morales a qualifying offer after the season, Cameron thinks Morales' market will be very thin since no team was willing to sacrifice a first-round pick as compensation for such a limited player; Adam LaRoche's free agency from last offseason is cited as a comparable. I profiled Morales as a possible trade candidate back in April, but he is hitting well enough (.299/.364/.491 entering today's play) that Seattle may see him as a long-term answer in their lineup if he keeps it up for the rest of the season.
- Many Mariners fans are calling for manager Eric Wedge and/or GM Jack Zduriencik to be fired, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times argues that club president Chuck Armstrong or CEO Howard Lincoln could be ultimately responsible for the Mariners' struggles. "Under the Armstrong/Lincoln regime, this organization has pretty much been run into the ground over the past decade — except for their ability to turn a profit, which the M’s have done almost every season, good, bad, or worse," Stone writes.
- Jeff Baker tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that the Rangers and Yankees the "main two" suitors for his services last offseason, though "a lot of teams knocked on the door." Baker signed with Texas in January, before the Yankees' need for corner infield help became so dire.
- Cavan Biggio is projected to be picked late in the first round or early in the second of Thursday's draft but his famous father isn't putting any pressure on the Astros to pick his son with the 40th overall selection. "I just didn't want the organization to feel they had to take my son because he's my son. I didn't want my son to feel the Astros took him because he's my son," Craig Biggio tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart and Chris Abshire. "I stayed away from it, and Jeff [Luhnow] and I have an excellent relationship. We haven't discussed it all, but he knows my feelings where I'm at." The elder Biggio works as a special assistant to Astros GM Luhnow.
As has been previously discussed on MLBTR, Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.
Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.
MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is tomorrow at 12:00pm ET (11:00am CT). In other words, by tomorrow afternoon teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:
- Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
- Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
- Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline.
Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top)...
- Rangers manager Ron Washington informed infielder Jeff Baker that he has made the Opening Day roster, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
- The Indians announced that Jason Giambi has made the roster but will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain. Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment in order to clear room on the roster.
- The Mariners announced via press release that they have added Kameron Loe to the 25-man roster and transferred Josh Kinney to the 60-day disabled list to create space.
- Smith also tweets that Rick Ankiel is expected to make the team as the everyday right fielder, meaning Houston will have to make a 40-man roster move. Ankiel's base salary will be $750K, and his contract includes incentives based on plate appearances.
- LaTroy Hawkins has been informed that he will make the Mets' 25-man roster, writes ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Mets currently have an open spot on their 40-man roster, meaning no corresponding move would have to be made. Hawkins will earn a base salary of approximately $1MM for making the team.
- Pedro Feliciano, another Mets non-roster invitee, is still deciding whether or not to opt out of his contract or take his $100K bonus and report to Triple-A, Rubin tweets. Feliciano was told he would not make the Mets' roster yesterday.
- Red Sox bench hopeful Lyle Overbay says he has "no idea" as to whether or not the team will add him to the 25-man roster, according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber (Twitter link). Overbay has plenty on the line, as he'll earn $1.25MM (with $250K more available via incentives) if he makes the Opening Day roster.
The Rangers announced that they have agreed to terms with infielder/outfielder Jeff Baker while officially announcing the signing of left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson. Baker is represented by Scott Boras
Baker, 31, hit .248/.287/.405 with four homers in 68 games for the Cubs, Tigers, and Braves last season. The veteran drew interest from the Yankees earlier this winter as they were looking to add a right-handed bat to the mix in the outfield. Baker owns a career slash line of .296/.344/.498 against left-handers.
- The Yankees are not close to a trade for an outfielder, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the team continues to look for a right-handed bat, mentioning Vernon Wells, Scott Hairston, and Jeff Baker as targets.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Christian Red of The New York Daily News that there are no plans to further upgrade the team's rotation. New York re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte earlier this offseason.
- The Orioles removed Steve Pearce from the 40-man roster yesterday, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wonders if the club could be adding another player in his place. Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun hears to would be a "kick-the-tires" addition and not a big name.
The Cubs acquired minor league right-hander Marcelo Carreno and cash considerations from the Tigers to complete the August trade involving Jeff Baker, the Tigers announced (on Twitter). The Tigers acquired Baker from the Cubs for two players to be named later on August 5th only to send him to Atlanta for another PTBNL four weeks later.
Carreno, 21, just completed his fifth season in the Tigers organization. He spent the 2012 campaign with Class A West Michigan, posting a 3.23 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 139 1/3 innings over the course of 27 starts.
The Tigers announced that they have traded Jeff Baker to the Braves for a player to be named later. The 31-year-old was designated for assignment earlier today to make room for Avisail Garcia on the roster.
Baker appeared in 15 games for the Tigers this month after he was acquired from the Cubs. The veteran has played second base and all four corner positions this year, while posting a line of .254/.293/.408 in 181 total plate appearances. For his career, Baker boasts a strong batting line of .298/.346/.505 against left-handers.
The Tigers have designated Jeff Baker for assignment, according to the team's director of media relations, Brian Britten (on Twitter). Detroit recalled Avisail Garcia from Double-A Erie in a related move.
Baker, a right-handed hitter, appeared in 15 games for the Tigers after they acquired him from the Cubs on August 5th. The 31-year-old has played second base and all four corner positions this year, posting a line of .254/.293/.408 in 181 total plate appearances. A noted lefty masher, Baker has a career batting line of .298/.346/.505 against southpaws. He's a potential fit for the Giants, who are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder.
The Tigers announced that they have acquired Jeff Baker from the Cubs in exchange for two players to be named later. The Cubs will receive the two PTBNLs either on or before October 31st.
Baker, 31, has a .269/.306/.448 slash line in 144 plate appearances on the year. The veteran has seen time at first base, second base, and the corner outfield positions this season and also has experience at third.
As for the Cubs, they will presumably bolster their farm system with this trade as they look to 2013 and beyond. Theo Epstein & Co. continued the youth movement today with the promotions of Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson.
Cody Ross was a walkoff hero for the Red Sox tonight, slugging a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off White Sox closer Addison Reed to give Boston a 3-1 win in the Battle Of The Sox. Here are some links from around the majors as we wrap up a busy Thursday of trade rumors...
- The Nationals have decided on to shut down Stephen Strasburg at some point this season though it may not be at the 160-inning limit, GM Mike Rizzo tells ESPN's Pedro Gomez. "There is no magic number," Rizzo said. "It will be the eye test. (Manager) Davey (Johnson) won't decide and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager, and that's me."
- The Rangers have "a very small list" of pitchers on their wish list and may be out of the pitching market entirely if Cole Hamels signs an extension with the Phillies, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- If Torii Hunter is really willing to take a big discount to re-sign with the Angels, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal speculates that the Halos could save money by keeping Hunter and Peter Bourjos at low costs and then non-tender or trade Kendrys Morales to free up more money to pursue pitching.
- The Cubs are unlikely to make a major free agent signing this winter, as Theo Epstein tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that the team isn't far enough along in its rebuilding process. “Free agency’s definitely a nice way to add talent to an organization without giving up talent," Epstein said. "But you cannot make an organization that way. And we have a lot of steps ahead of us that we need to take care of before we’re in a position to add a finishing piece or two through free agency.”
- Beyond their big-name talent, the Cubs are also getting calls about right-handed hitting bench players Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson, reports Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).
- The Twins led all teams in draft spending this year, as Baseball America's Jim Callis breaks down how much each club spent on their draft picks.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten hinted that his team isn't likely to splurge in a blockbuster trade deadline deal, saying any trade the Dodgers make will "have to be governed by reason" and "make sense long term," he tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told reporters (including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro) that his team is running out of time to prove they're contenders before the Fish could be forced to sell some pieces at the deadline. “In terms of decision making, I don’t how that’s going to go,” Beinfest said. “I really don’t. We need to win games here to make sure we’re on the periphery of even thinking about getting into things....You believe in your talent and hope we get hot. I think that’s where we are right now. But every day that goes by, it gets tougher and tougher to do that.”