Despite undergoing Tommy John’s surgery in April, the Chicago Cubs have gambled on right-handed pitcher Scott Baker, signing him to a one-year $5.5 million contract.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, who reported the deal on Tuesday, also added that Baker could make an additional $1.5 million with incentives. Not too shabby for a guy that has yet to throw off a mound, after missing the entire 2012 season.
The 31-year-old does expect however to move to that part of his rehab process by mid-to-late December. Still he may not be ready by spring training, as the deadline for players to report is Feb. 2.
So why would Chicago risk acquiring a player who hasn’t played in a year and may not be ready to start the upcoming season?
Simple, it’s a nice buy-low opportunity for Theo Epstein and Co. And besides, Baker could be an excellent trade chip for the Cubs if he bounces back as expected.
He spent seven seasons in Minnesota where he was 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 games, including 21 starts, during the 2011 season, and owns a career mark of 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA in 163 games, all but four as a starter.
If Baker can avoid setbacks, he could top the Cubs rotation in the first quarter of the 2013 season, and worst case could be dealt for a decent prospect.