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Should The Rays Sign Scott Baker?

Veteran Starting Pitcher Scott Baker Has An Opt-Out Thursday

The Tampa Bay Rays have an opportunity to add a veteran right handed pitcher in Scott Bakerto their starting rotation which would allow them tomove Erik Bedardinto the bullpen as the traditional long-reliever.To create a room in the bullpen and on the 40-man roster they woulddesignating for assignment reliever Josh Lueke.


Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports Scott Baker has an opt-out date approaching this Thursday.Cotillo (Twitter) also notes that Bakerwould likely only opt out of Texas deal for Major Leagueopportunity. He should know if he'll be offered one within next 24 hours

The 32-year old Baker is currently with the Rangers Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League where he has made five starts and has posted a record of 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA. He has worked 32 innings striking out 26 and walking just 10.

Heis an extreme fly ball pitcher withexcellentcontrol withthe ability to strike hitters out. One benefit the Rays would benefit fromimmediately is that he doesn't need to be nursed or stretched out. In his five starts at Triple-A he has registered pitch counts of 75, 90, 104, 107, and 88.

He has only made three starts at the major league level since the end of the 2011 season as he had Tommy John surgery followed by a complication in his rehab from the procedure.

From 2005 through 2011 he made 159 starts for the Minnesota Twins posting a record of 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA. He had a strike out rate of 7.2 K/9, a walk rate of 2.1 BB/9 but was susceptible to giving up the home run reflected by a 1.2 HR/9 rate.

The oft-injured pitcher has been on the disabled list six times in his big league career and is attempting to comeback after having Tommy John Surgery on April 17, 2012.

After missing the entire 2012 season he signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agentbut experienced flexor tendon issues in the surgically repaired elbow. The setback held him to just eight minor league starts beginning in July of 2013 and three big league starts in September.

This pastwinter he signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners and spent Spring Training in their camp but was optioned to Triple-A . He elected to decline the assignment and signedminor league deal with the Texas Rangers

Besides having excellent numbers with Round Rock it sounds as if his arm is healthy."He's certainly showed no signs of injuries," Round Rock manager Steve Buechele said. "I think he's been really good. You'd never know that he's had arm trouble. He needs to keep doing what he's doing. I know he's already opened up eyes for sure."

The Rays should be looking for any way to protect themselves in the starting rotation while Nate Karns, Mike Montgomery, Matt Andriese, and Enny Romero hone their craft with the Triple-A Durham Bulls and Alex Colome builds up arm strength when he returns from suspension.

Additionally, the Rays should have a larger safety net in place if Jake Odorizzi should falter, another injury should hit the rotation, or if either Alex Cobb or Jeremy Hellickson should suffer a setback in their rehabilitation.

Will the Rays make this move? I'm not sure if they will or notbut seldom doesa more logical move present itself to a team in the position such as the Rays with their tattered starting pitching staff.




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