Scott Baker Rumors

Minor Moves: Baker, Ortiz, Tolleson, Bello, Sands

The day’s minor moves will be tracked right here:

  • The Dodgers have outrighted Scott Baker to Triple-A Oklahoma City following his DFA, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group. The 33-year-old Baker was designated on Sunday following a pair of starts in which he allowed seven runs in 11 innings of work with an 8-to-3 K/BB ratio. The former Twin has yet to establish himself as a credible mid-rotation starter, as he was in Minnesota from 2007-11, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
  • Left-hander Joseph Ortiz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa after being designated for assignment by the Cubs over the weekend, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Ortiz enjoyed a solid season with the Rangers in 2013 at just 22 years of age, working to a 4.23 ERA with 27 strikeouts against eight unintentional walks in 44 2/3 innings. Ortiz was involved in a freak accident prior to the 2014 season when was struck by a motorcyclist while walking down the street in his native Venezuela. The resulting fractures in his left foot cost him much of the 2014 season. Ortiz was claimed off waivers by the Cubs this winter and has a 3.38 ERA in 10 2/3 Triple-A innings, though he’s struck out just one hitter despite a career K/9 of 8.6 in the Minors.
  • Steven Tolleson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Blue Jays, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The infielder could find himself back on the active roster in short order, per Davidi, as the club is currently lacking a reserve middle infielder after today’s roster moves.
  • The Padres have purchased the rights to catcher Yenier Bello from the independent league’s Joplin Blasters, according to Mark Schremmer of the Joplin Globe (via Twitter). Bello, 30, was released by the Braves just one year after signing out of Cuba. It seems rather likely that he will be looked upon as an organizational depth piece by the San Diego organization.
  • The Indians announced that outfielder Jerry Sands has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A. Sands could have declined the assignment and shopped his early-season .348/.400/.435 batting line on the open market, but apparently felt his best opportunity remained with the Cleveland organization.

Dodgers Designate Scott Baker For Assignment

9:56pm: The Dodgers have formally announced that they’ve designated Baker for assignment and acquired first baseman Andy Wilkins from the Blue Jays for cash considerations.

7:52pm: The Dodgers will designate veteran righty Scott Baker for assignment, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets. The move will likely clear a roster spot for another reliever, who will be needed after the team used seven relievers in their 13-inning win over the Diamondbacks today. The Dodgers will continue to use Carlos Frias to their rotation, and it seems like they’ll have to add someone else, perhaps an arm from Triple-A, for what would have been Baker’s next start Wednesday against the Brewers.

The Dodgers signed the 33-year-old Baker last month after the Yankees cut him near the end of Spring Training. He made two starts for Los Angeles, allowing seven runs while striking out eight and walking three in 11 innings. In parts of ten seasons in the Majors, Baker has a 4.26 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.


NL West Notes: Cain, Baker, Kimbrel, Ross

The Giants officially placed Matt Cain on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, and the righty told reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (Twitter links) that he’s hoping to return in two weeks, though there’s no certainty that such a quick return is possible. “Might as well try for it,” Cain said. “That’s what you’re hoping for. Only time will tell.” Cain said he doesn’t feel any “killing” pain, but rather he feels pain when going through certain movements. There’s currently no timetable for him to throw, and the team has recalled Chris Heston to make a spot start and fill Cain’s roster spot. San Francisco also added Kevin Correia on a Minor League pact earlier tonight to provide some depth.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Scott Baker looks like the likeliest option to step into the Dodgers‘ rotation in place of the injured Hyun-jin Ryu on April 14, writes Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Of the team’s projected Triple-A starters, Baker is the only one eligible to be called up on the 14th when the team will need a starter. Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are all on the 40-man roster and therefore need to spend at least 10 days in the Minors (barring an injury on the Major League roster) before they can return to the Majors.
  • Craig Kimbrel tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock that he watched with interest from afar as the Padres drastically revamped their roster, and he’s shocked but excited to be a last-minute addition to the reconstructed team. “You can tell this organization is going after it, it’s not a few-years deal, it’s right now,” said Kimbrel. “As a player, that’s exciting. You don’t know how long you’re going to play this game. [Being here] you could tell everyone is excited … from the front office to the players. That gets me excited. I’m ready to get the ball and get started.” Brock also notes that Kimbrel’s former Braves teammate, Justin Upton, gave GM A.J. Preller a “glowing endorsement” of the closer before the trade was agreed to by both sides.
  • Diamondbacks players were relatively stunned by the team’s sudden release of Cody Ross on Sunday, writes Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. Jordan Pacheco tells Buchanan he’s always looked up to Ross, a fellow New Mexico native. Mark Trumbo spoke highly of Ross as a teammate: “The positive energy he brought each and every day was almost unmatched. He’s a very special guy in his ability to lighten the mood in any situation. When it’s go time, he had that ability as good as anybody in the game.” Ross will sign with the A’s tomorrow upon officially clearing release waivers, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight.


Dodgers To Sign Scott Baker

The Dodgers have agreed to sign righty Scott Baker, pending a physical, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter links). Presumably it is a minor league pact, unless the club intends to place Baker on its Opening Day roster.

Baker, 33, had been in camp with the Yankees before being released. He tossed 10 1/3 innings this spring, allowing nine earned runs but racking up ten strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Baker spent last year with the Rangers in a swingman role, posting a 5.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 80 2/3 frames.  He has not been a full-time starter since his 2005-2011 run with the Twins was ended by Tommy John surgery (while in the midst of his best season as a pro). Over 958 innings with Minnesota, Baker owned a 4.15 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Wolfson reported yesterday that the sides were talking. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Los Angeles was the “favorite” to add Baker, citing a source who believed a deal was in place pending a physical.


Dodgers Notes: Olivera, Baker, Puig, Bullpen

The Dodgers may have to wait for quite some time before they’re able to benefit from the addition of Hector Olivera, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. Olivera is still in the Dominican Repbulic waiting to acquire a visa that would allow him to travel to the U.S. Even upon arriving, Olivera will need to complete a rigorous physical, due to the questionable state of his right elbow. After that, the Dodgers will option him to the Minor Leagues in order to evaluate his prowess at both second base and third base, and possibly first base as well, per Shaikin. Suffice it to say, despite the significant expenditure, it doesn’t seem that the Dodgers are banking on Olivera playing a major role on the 2015 club.

A few more Dodgers items as we await Opening Day…

  • The Dodgers are “kicking the tires” on free agent righty Scott Baker, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Baker, who was released by the Yankees earlier this week, was a mainstay in Minnesota’s rotation in the late 2000s and earlier this decade, but he’s struggled to reestablish himself following 2012 Tommy John surgery. He’s been ineffective in each of the past two seasons with the Cubs and Rangers, but the 33-year-old could provide some cheap rotation depth for an L.A. rotation with plenty of injury question marks.
  • Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick were involved in a frightening collision when pursuing a fly-ball last night, and while Puig got the worse end of the impact, he’s passed a concussion test and is not seriously injured, writes the Times’ Steve Dilbeck. Puig told reporters he felt he’d be ready to play today, but the Dodgers have simply said they plan to monitor his situation.
  • Anthony Witrado of ESPN Los Angeles looks at the team’s questionable bullpen picture, noting that Sergio Santos has pitched significantly worse as the spring wears on. Meanwhile, Adam Liberatore has pitched quite well but could end up on the outside looking in due to the fact that he’d be a third left-hander and has a Minor League option remaining. Manager Don Mattingly has said that righty Pedro Baez is still a consideration, but he, too, has a Minor League option remaining, which could land him at Triple-A.

Yankees To Release Scott Baker

The Yankees have released Scott Baker, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (via Twitter).  The Yankees signed Baker to a minor league pact back in January.

Baker was a mainstay in the Twins’ rotation during their run at the top of the division, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in Spring Training of 2012 and has yet to re-establish himself as a reliable rotation cog in the Major Leagues.  The 33-year-old has spent the past two seasons in the Cubs and Rangers organizations, working to a combined 5.17 ERA in 95 2/3 innings of work.

Prior to those struggles and his surgery, however, Baker was a solid, if unspectacular mid-rotation arm for Minnesota.  He averaged 181 innings of 4.11 ERA ball (103 ERA+) from 2008-10 with the Twins before seemingly taking a significant step forward in a 2011 season that was cut short by injury.  Baker notched just 134 2/3 innings that year but had turned in a pristine 3.14 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 prior to being shut down.  Metrics such as his 3.45 FIP and 3.43 SIERA reflected genuine improvement as well.

The former second-round pick had an opportunity to help fill in a questionable Yankees rotation, but he’ll now be seeking employment elsewhere.  Had he made the Bombers’ big league roster, Baker would have earned a $1.5MM salary.


Yankees To Sign Scott Baker To Minor League Deal

4:15pm: Baker will earn at a $1.5MM rate if he makes the big league roster, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.

12:15pm: The Yankees have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with longtime Twins right-hander Scott Baker, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).

Baker was a mainstay in the Twins’ rotation during their run at the top of the division, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in Spring Training of 2012 and has yet to re-establish himself as a reliable rotation cog in the Major Leagues. Baker has spent the past two seasons in the Cubs and Rangers organizations, working to a combined 5.17 ERA in 95 2/3 innings of work.

Prior to those struggles and his surgery, however, Baker was a solid, if unspectacular mid-rotation arm for Minnesota. He averaged 181 innings of 4.11 ERA ball (103 ERA+) from 2008-10 with the Twins before seemingly taking a significant step forward in a 2011 season that was cut short by injury. Baker notched just 134 2/3 innings that year but had turned in a pristine 3.14 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 prior to being shut down. Metrics such as his 3.45 FIP and 3.43 SIERA reflected genuine improvement as well.

Now with the Yankees, the former second-round pick will hope to earn a rotation spot amid a sea of other injury question marks. Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova ultimately comprise New York’s ideal rotation, but Nova won’t be ready to start the season after having his own Tommy John last year. Meanwhile, Sabathia is coming off knee surgery, uncertainty surrounds Tanaka’s UCL and Pineda’s history of shoulder problems is a persistent concern. Chris Capuano was signed to a big league deal this winter, so he should open the year in the rotation, but given the injury troubles surrounding the entire group of rotation options, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Baker get a crack, should his own health issues permit.


Central Notes: Stauffer, Brewers, Indians, Baker, Viciedo

Though he receives only a $2.2MM guarantee, recently-signed Twins righty Tim Stauffer can earn significantly more through incentives, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports. Stauffer can max out his deal at a total of $3.95MM ($1.75MM bonus) if he makes 55 appearances in the coming season. He can earn $250K bonuses upon his 15th, 18th, 21st, 24th, and 27th appearances, land $100K for the 45th time he takes the hill, and nab another $250K at number fifty-five.

Here’s more from the central divisions:

  • The Brewers and Indians are among the teams on the market for late-inning relief help, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Neither team intends to “spend big,” however, Rosenthal adds. Several established pen arms remain available through free agency.
  • We heard yesterday that righty Scott Baker had interest from five clubs that were offering minor league deals. The Reds are one of the teams pursuing the veteran, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, whereas the Twins are not involved.
  • The White Sox could still cut Dayan Viciedo loose this spring after agreeing to avoid arbitration, writes SB Nation’s Jim Margalus, but the club would still be on the hook for a portion of his $4.4MM salary. Margalus breaks down recent instances of such scenarios, but explains that the actual cost to teams (as well as the presence or results of any grievance proceedings) remains largely unknown publicly. At this point, a spot as a bench bat seems the likeliest outcome, though a trade is still possible.

Pitching Notes: Shields, Cards, Ogando, Albers, Baker, Coke, Comebacks

As things stand, the Nationals have the game’s best rotation while the Royals have the top pen, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney opines (Insider links). Of course, the offseason is not yet over. Here are the latest notes on the pitching market:

  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart confirmed that the team has active interest in starter James Shields, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Stewart adds that he likes the idea of  Shields serving as a mentor while fronting the team’s rotation. Fellow free agent Max Scherzer, however, is too spendy for Arizona.
  • When the Cardinals pursued lefty Jon Lester, the team indicated it was willing to spend only to the $120MM range, Olney tweets. That could give an idea of what kind of payroll space the club feels willing to occupy, says Olney. St. Louis was recently linked to a trio of top starting pitchers, each of whom would represent quite a different investment.
  • Alexi Ogando apparently produced solid results in his recent workout, with Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweeting that scouts were impressed. The Red Sox and Dodgers are “aggressive” on Ogando, Gammons adds. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe had tweeted that Boston was in attendance.
  • Righty Matt Albers is throwing in preparation for a showcase early next month, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). The shoulder issues that shut him down last year did not involve any structural damage, says Morosi.
  • Agent Bobby Witt says that client Scott Baker, another free agent righty, prefers to join a team that will allow him to enter camp as a starter, Morosi reports (Twitter links). Baker has five minor league offers in hand but is hoping to receive a major league contract.
  • Interest in lefty Phil Coke is “amping up,” Chris Iott of MLive.com tweets. Nevertheless, a signing does not appear to be imminent, per the report.
  • The Twins are planning to watch lefty Johan Santana throw today after already seeing him on the mound last week, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. Santana is not the only prominent hurler eyeing a comeback, it seems. Former closer Carlos Marmol threw in the Dominican earlier this winter and is now pitching in Venezuela, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. And one-time relief ace Daniel Bard, whose career derailed with a failed conversion back to the rotation, is also seeking a return, Cafardo reports. The 29-year-old says he is finally healthy and expects to sign a deal this week.

Rangers Notes: Rosario, Masterson, Floyd

The Rangers have been discussing trades with the Braves, Mets, Diamondbacks and Nationals at the Winter Meetings, though they’re reportedly no longer talking to the Dodgers about Matt Kemp.  Here’s some more out of Arlington…

  • The Rangers and Rockies have continued to discuss catcher Wilin Rosario, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.  Rosario would help address Texas’ need for both a right-handed bat and a catcher.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels said that offers have been extended to free agent pitchers but sources tell Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Justin Masterson “isn’t in [the] picture.”
  • Talks with Gavin Floyd‘s agent have been put on hold for now, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.  Floyd posted strong numbers (2.65 ERA, 3.46 K/BB) over nine starts with the Braves in 2014 before having his season ended by a broken bone in his throwing elbow.
  • Also from Grant, the Rangers are interested in bringing Scott Baker back on a minor league contract, though the righty is hoping to land a Major League deal.  After missing almost all of the 2012-13 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, Baker posted a 5.47 ERA over 80 2/3 IP with Texas last season.
  • The Rangers will protect Russell Wilson from the Rule 5 Draft on their Triple-A roster, which Grant explains is a procedural move that would force a claiming team to keep Wilson on its Major League roster all season.  Texas is essentially keeping Wilson in the fold as a “Spring Training motivational speaker” since he’s obviously not leaving the NFL any time soon.