Scott Baker Rumors
Sunday night linkage...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Dodgers "will not restructure Juan Pierre's contract to make him go away."
- Murray Chass likes Jim Bowden, while Hal McCoy has a negative recollection.
- ESPN's Peter Gammons wrote about teams clamoring for Marlins prospect Michael Stanton last July.
- Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News talked to Baseball-Reference mastermind Sean Forman.
- Aaron Gleeman analyzes Scott Baker's new extension with the Twins.
- RotoAuthority recently looked at catcher tiers for fantasy baseball drafts.
3:48pm: Christensen adds the annual details: Baker will earn $750K this year, $3MM in '10, $5MM in '11, and $6.5MM in '12. So, $14.5MM for the three arb years.
1:07pm: According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Twins signed pitcher Scott Baker to a four-year deal with an option for 2013. The deal is worth $15.25MM and the '13 option is for $9.25MM. The contract includes this year and his three arb years and gives the team an option on one free agent season. Baker's extension is very similar to Paul Maholm's deal, which was signed on January 30th.
The 27 year-old righty posted a fine 3.45 ERA in 28 starts last year. He has the impeccable control many Twins pitchers have displayed over the years.
Twins right-hander Scott Baker said recently that he would be open to signing a long-term deal to stay in Minnesota. Kelly Thesier has the report over at MLB.com.
"I have definitely entertained the idea of it." Baker said. "I like this place. I like playing here. I like the coaching staff and obviously we have a great clubhouse. It's kind of up to them, but I definitely have thought about it."
Multiyear deals for pitchers can be risky, but Baker has shown the kind of consistency over the past two seasons that would warrant long-term consideration by most teams. He is 20-13 with a 3.81 ERA in 381 innings since the start of 2007 and is still only 27 years of age.
La Velle E. Neal III and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune have the latest Twins buzz.
- The Twins would like to trade Boof Bonser to make room for Francisco Liriano. The Giants and Rangers might be interested.
- Targets for the Twins: relief help, third base, and second base.
- Talks for Adrian Beltre are not dead. The Mariners are eyeing Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, and Denard Span. The Twins aren't biting. Sounds like the Mariners want a premium arm for Beltre from the Twins or Giants, but those teams see it as more of a salary dump.
- The Twins asked about Brian Roberts but couldn't get anywhere.
- The Rays might be looking at Craig Monroe as a bench option.
Another week in the history books! Here's a look back from July 13-19:
- The Phillies acquired Joe Blanton from the A's for a package of three minor leaguers: Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, and Matthew Spencer. Cardenas and Outman were the Phils' #2 and #4 prospects. Personally, that seems like a lot to bring a pitcher who's already struggling to a much smaller park. Blanton is a much better pitcher than he's showed this season, however.
- Francisco Rodriguez will test the free-agent market this offseason. I don't think anyone would be surprised to see K-Rod sign a record-setting contract for a reliever.
- The Yankees signed Richie Sexson.
- Francisco Liriano - or at least his agent - is not pleased that the Twins still have him in AAA. The Twins won't blame Liriano for the investigation. Upsetting a player who's that young and that talented seems like a bad idea to me...
- The Padres traded Tony Clark to the Diamondbacks for minor leaguer Evan Scribner. The D'Backs have looked like they can use all the help they can get lately.
- A.J. Burnett likes Toronto and doesn't want to be traded. My advice: Don't talk to Chicago reporters anymore, A.J.
- Tim updated the third base and second base markets.
- Erik Bedard's injury looks like it will keep him in Seattle. And if you don't believe me yet, here's another one for you.
- The Twins balked at Seattle's asking price for Adrian Beltre. And considering they asked for one of Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins, or Kevin Slowey as well as other minor league prospects, can you blame them?
Terry Ryan hung on to his fine corral of young pitchers, and it's hard to find fault with that. However, new GM Bill Smith is open to dealing one of them for a high impact young hitter.
Specifically, Joe Christensen says the Twins are willing to move 24 year-old Matt Garza, who posted a 3.69 ERA this year. The price would be huge - the names the Twins have in mind are Delmon Young, B.J. Upton, and Carlos Gomez. Upton, a favorite of theirs, seems like the least available of the three. Marc Topkin agrees that a Young-Garza rumor has been floating around.
If the Twins want to make a lesser deal, teams have also been asking about Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker. But those two aren't chopped liver, and Rocco Baldelli doesn't seem like enough. The Padres want in on the young pitchers, but aren't willing to give up third baseman Chase Headley.
There's also word in Christensen's article that the Twins haven't heard back from Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva regarding their weak offers. A more legitimate effort will be made to re-sign Johan Santana.
Plenty of new hot stove talk involving the Mets. Let's get into it.
- First off, there's the fact that Omar Minaya met with Scott Boras yesterday. Minaya says he talked to Boras about all the players he represents. Besides Mr. Rodriguez, Eric Gagne, Byung-Hyun Kim, Kenny Rogers, and Kyle Lohse may be considerations for the Mets. Indeed, there is some buzz that the Mets could bring Kim in to compete for a rotation spot.
- So what about A-Rod? He'd cost the Mets a ton of money, plus the #22 overall pick in the 2008 draft. It sounds like the Mets may hear Boras out as a courtesy, and even put in an offer they feel is reasonable. That number might fall far short of what it will take, as did theirs for Daisuke Matsuzaka and Barry Zito a year ago. That said, Mets insiders aren't afraid of the full retail price of Rodriguez.
- The top priority remains pitching. Carlos Silva, Tom Glavine, Hiroki Kuroda, and A.J. Burnett are on the radar. On the relief side, Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch could again be in the mix. The Nats' are said to have their eye on Carlos Gomez and Mike Pelfrey. Gomez is a hot topic these days - the Twins want him too, and could offer up Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, or Scott Baker.
Jim Molony's column today at MLB.com has many good trade rumors that I haven't seen elsewhere. Let's discuss.
- Molony says at least a dozen scouts watched Jason Jennings toss a quality start last night. He needed it; I was beginning to think he wasn't right. Still, the performance probably isn't enough to cause some team to offer a package for Jennings superior to two draft picks.
- The Diamondbacks and Pirates had a scouting presence at the Astros-Dodgers game. Interesting players appearing in the contest included James Loney, Andre Ethier, Wilson Betemit, Mark Loretta, Morgan Ensberg, Jason Lane, Chad Qualls, Dan Wheeler, and Brad Lidge. You connect the dots, I have no idea.
- The Red Sox suggested sending Joel Pineiro to the A's for Bobby Kielty in a swap of unwanteds; they were rebuffed.
- The Phillies and Braves watched Matt Morris allow four runs in six innings on Tuesday. They also may have been monitoring Steve Kline, who also pitched.
- A Devil Rays scout watched the Twins in Toronto on Tuesday. Ty Wigginton is thought to be a target for Minnesota. Perhaps the Rays' scout fancied Scott Baker, who started for the Twins and went seven innings. Baker would be a stupendous return for Wiggy, in my opinion.
- The Phillies had their assistant GM scouting Kevin Slowey's start on Saturday. Molony suggests Minnesota might want Pat Burrell. That would involve a ridiculous amount of salary relief and a lack of Slowey. Slowey allowed one run in six innings in the game.
- UPDATE: Just realized that the above pair of bullets seem to have originated from La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The scout watching the Twins on Tuesday was Lee Elia. Not sure why Molony didn't cite this source, but I suppose he may have come across the info independently.
Reed Johnson. He's a 30 year-old outfielder who can play all three positions. He posted a .391 OBP as the Jays' leadoff hitter last year. He doesn't need to be platooned. He makes $3.075MM this year and has two years of service time left before free agency.
If there's one team that can afford to compromise a little outfield defense, it's the Jays. They've got two excellent athletes in Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. The DH spot is blocked with Frank Thomas, leaving no spot for young Adam Lind. Lind appears Major League ready - his PECOTA is .289/.349/.493 and he projects to be more valuable than Johnson in 2007. Lind's defense is lacking, but the Jays can stomach that.
So which teams could use Reed Johnson? The Twins, Braves, Cardinals, and Marlins are possibilities. I think he could be a decent center fielder for the Fish, but they'd hesitate to take on his salary. The Braves seem content with their left field platoon, though I think Johnson would fit. The Cards also have some outfield questions, though Ricciardi hasn't traded with John Schuerholz or Walt Jocketty before. The Dodgers had interest in Johnson in the past but the Brady Clark acquisition removes their need.
That leaves the Twins as my choice. They're relying on the health of Rondell White and/or Jason Kubel in left, and they may want to trade Torii Hunter midseason. Alexi Casilla is ready to replace Luis Castillo as well, and Johnson could be used at leadoff while Casilla gets acclimated.
In return, the Twins could send one of their young starters to the Jays. Asking for Glen Perkins or Kevin Slowey seems like too much, but Scott Baker is buried on their starting pitching depth chart. He seems to have fallen out of favor after a half-season of 6.37 ball last year. While his home run tendencies are a poor fit for Rogers Centre, Baker did have a promising 3.9 K/BB last year. He's 25 years old and seems like an appropriate bounty for Johnson. Thoughts?