Mariners sign Scott Baker, trade Peguero
Veteran right-hander Scott Baker has agreed to a one-year Minor League contract with the Mariners with an invitation to Major League camp, according to a club source, as Seattle looks to add to its starting rotation competition.
Additionally, the club announced Wednesday it has traded outfielder Carlos Peguero to the Royals for cash or a player to be named. Peguero was designated for assignment last week to open a roster spot for catcher John Buck.
Baker, 32, pitched just three games for the Cubs last September after returning from Tommy John surgery, but is now nearly two years removed from the elbow injury that plagued him in 2012 while with the Twins.
Baker passed a physical exam with the club and the deal is expected to be formally announced Wednesday.
The deal is for $1 million, if he makes the Major League roster, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, with a potential $3.25 million in additional incentives.
If Baker proves healthy this spring, he figures to get a good shot from the Mariners, who are seeking a veteran starter to add to a rotation that has Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top and a host of youngsters – Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, Blake Beavan and Hector Noesi – competing for the other spots.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder was a solid starter for Minnesota from 2005-11, posting a 63-48 record with a 4.15 ERA in 163 games (159 starts). He had the eighth-best ERA in the American League in 2008 at 3.45, won 15 games in ‘09 and was the Twins’ Opening Day starter in ’10.
But after going 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 2011, Baker missed the final two months of that season with elbow problems and then had Tommy John surgery the following year. The Cubs signed him to a $5.5 million deal last year, but he was able to make just three Major League starts, compiling a 3.60 ERA in three no-decisions while allowing just nine hits and four walks in 15 innings in the final month.
He also made eight rehab starts in Class-A ball earlier in the year.