Shortly after being released by the Seattle Mariners, veteran right-hander Scott Baker has reportedly agreed to a minor league contract with the injury-riddled Texas Rangers.
The move to sign another pitcher isn’t a shock from the Rangers given their absolute injury rash in recent days, but in the case of Baker, this is a move with some real upside. Baker, who is now 32 years old, once put together a string of five consecutive seasons with at least 2.6 fWAR while with the Twins, and in his final semi-full season in 2011, the right-hander turned in an impressive 3.14 ERA over 134.2 innings and 21 starts.
Because of the fact that it is a minor league pact, there is virtually no risk, but Baker’s health has been the concern for the past 2-plus years, and it is hard to believe that it wasn’t a contributing factor in his release from Seattle. Baker sat out the entire 2012 season with arm trouble, and he was only able to throw 15 innings for the Cubs in 2013 before failing to make the roster with the Mariners. If he can rediscover some of that early and mid-career “magic”, he’ll be a great find for Texas, but if he can’t, they’ll be back to the drawing board in the rotation.