Jeff Baker, a useful utility player and certified destroyer of left-handed pitching, might be returning to the Texas Rangers after a solid season with the team in 2013.
Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers are interested in signing the 32-year-old infielder as a reserve player next season. While the Rangers lineup is certainly set, this is the kind of depth that teams with championship aspirations must seek.
Before discussing Baker’s credentials, we have to note this tidbit from Fraley’s report:
Through June 12, Baker hit .317 with nine homers, 16 RBIs and a 1.016 OPS in 92 plate appearances. He missed five weeks because of a sprained thumb, received when a teammate gave him an over-exuberant high-five salute during a celebration, and hit only .236 with two homers, five RBIs and a .700 OPS for 83 plate appearances upon his return.”
Just a reminder that a baseball player last season missed time because of a high-five gone awry. Let’s stick with knucks, guys.
In his career Baker is a .298 hitter against left-handed pitching with an .875 OPS and 35 of his 48 career home runs. If he does re-sign with the Rangers, he will help them fill the void left by Nelson Cruz in terms of right-handed pop, especially in spot designated hitter duty.