Yankees Add Scott Baker on Minors Deal
The New York Yankees have singed free agent pitcher Scott Baker to a minor league contract, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
Baker, 33, will give the Yanks some depth in their starting rotation during the 2015 season. While the staff is currently filled, Baker provides some insurance should Chris Capuano struggle as the fifth starter or if the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova deal with new injuries or set backs to preexisting conditions. Nova is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and is not expected back until mid-season.
Baker himself has dealt with his share of health issues over the years. The righty showed plenty of promise with the Minnesota Twins early on his career, winning 38 games between 2008 and 2010, averaging 181 innings a season and 4.11 ERA. He was never an ace, but a solid middle of the rotation pitcher for sure.
Baker’s numbers fell off a bit in 2011 due to injury and then underwent Tommy John surgery during the spring of 2012. Once a key part of Minnesota’s rotation, Baker has not been the same since. Since the surgery he has started a total of 11 games while pitching in a total of 28 for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers the last two years. He ended up with 5.17 ERA in 95.2 innings of work in that span.
With spring training fast approaching, it will be interesting to see where Baker ends up on Opening Day. The Yankees just gave Capuano a brand-new $5 million contract, so one would have to assume they prefer him to be the guy that holds down the fifth rotation spot until Nova comes back. However, if Baker outshines the veteran lefty, it could very well be him who wins the job. Of course, there is also concern for injury when talking about the rest of this rotation. Keep in mind that the Yankees used 13 different starting pitchers in 2014.
If Baker is needed, New York is hoping he can harness the potential he showed while with the Twins. How soon and how often they will need him remains to be seen.
As they say, you can never have enough pitching.