Scott Baker >>> Jeremy Bonderman
And not too much < Ryan Dempster


Baker signs a minor-league deal with incentives.  :: crowd goes wild ::

SSI profiled Baker on Jan. 19.  We reduced the issue to one question:  is he coming in to pitch in Joe Saunders' role?  Or in Jeremy Bonderman's role?  In Saunders' role he's a mild disappointment.  In Bonderman's role, he's like the greatest signing of all time.


Baker's two-pitch stuff is very, VERY similar to Jeremy Bonderman's.  Bonderman is, of course, the Poster Boy for lack of pitchability, whereas Scott Baker brings that great slider arm action and tremendous pitchability.  

The difference between the two men is Baker's hair-fine feel for where a batter's head is at.  As we've said with respect to Brandon League, SSI has no use for athletes who talk "at" opponents rather than "with" them.  SSI has no use for athletes who refuse to THINK on the field.  Baker is a real thinker.  I respect that.

It's a pet peeve of mine in real life, too.  Marilyn Vos Savant said gently, "I tend to lose interest in conversing with people who speak but don't listen."  League and Bonderman want to just huck the ball and pretend like the other person's point of view is irrelevant -- that offends me on a molecular level.

So I'm biased.  My views of Baker and Bonderman are probably too extreme.


Baker is a two-pitch guy with stuff that is also similar to Ryan Dempster's, although admittedly Dempster added a forkball later in his career.  (Perhaps Baker will do the same?)

He is perfectly capable of a Dempster season ... wait, capable of?  The seasons that Baker had in 2007, and 2008, and in 2009, and in 2010, and 2011, all of those seasons would have fit very nicely onto Ryan Dempster's baseball card.

Scott Baker was willing to come here as a minor-leaguer?!  Now that's GM'ing, gentlemen.  Scott Baker, the BaseballHQ hero as my stealth backup SP, that is exactly the kind of move that Dr. D would be dreaming about pulling off, either in roto or in real life.  That's like having Percy Harvin lurking on your bench, just in case he's ever needed.

I'm still geekin' out about it.  :- )





Doc, would you rather have Jiminez or Baker-Cruz or Baker-Rodney, or, the way the market is, Baker Cruz and Rodney?  I'm leaning heavily on the forget about Jiminez and sign those other guys, as Erasmo should be up for big things next year.  

misterjonez's picture

This is an amazing signing on a few levels, when kept in perspective for what it is (a BOR stopgap with essentially zero commitment in terms of money or PT, whose upside is a legit #3).
I don't think the team is in a position to pick guys up on contracts like this unless they already made their big splash of the pot early. Some teams have the credibility to do this every year, but the M's aren't one of them. Great signing which I view as entirely dependent on Cano's early signing.
How much money did we just save compared to Jimenez, Garza, etc..? We're buying a lower % lotto ticket with Baker, but I'll be darned if his numbers from 2007-2011 don't look exactly like Garza's to my untrained eye. In my mind, a large percentage of those savings come off the Cano contract.


I'm a bit curious about you calling Baker a 2-pitch guy. Brooks Baseball's player card for him shows an array of pitches -- 4-seam, 2-seam, cutter, change, slider, and curve -- that he has thrown a significant amount. Up 'til his arm issues, it looks like he varied his pitches exceptionally well. He threw his slider more with 2 strikes, but not predictably so. If he gets back to the type of pitching they show, he's going to be the exact opposite of League - a bunch of pitches thrown unpredictably with good command and deception. Sign me up as a fan.


Might be a steal, but if no one offered him a guaranteed big league deal I suspect he's a project.
He's spaghetti, which is fine, but he's spaghetti that we're counting on to hold down the no. 3 spot in the rotation, in front of Walker and Paxton. We have three rolls of the dice, plus Erasmo and Maurer as depth. Not a comforting thought if you hope to have some post-season baseball. I'd rather they pay the money to lock in three of the five slots.
Taken in isolation, this move is fine but I don't see it as a precursor to an additional splash.

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