Another day, another pitcher added by the Dodgers, who have reportedly agreed to terms with Scott Baker, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota. The deal is pending a physical, which per Wolfson will take place on Saturday in Arizona.
It is unknown whether this is a major or minor league contract, though I would guess it is a minor league deal. The Dodgers do have an open spot on their 40-man roster.
Baker was a non-roster invitee in Yankees camp but was granted his release on Sunday. Had the Yankees kept him, they would have owed Baker a $100,000 retention bonus. He allowed nine runs on 14 hits in 10⅓ innings in Grapefruit League play with the Yankees, but also had 10 strikeouts and no walks.
He last pitched on Saturday, allowing five runs in two innings.
The 33-year-old right-hander missed all of 2012 and most of 2013 after Tommy John surgery. He pitched 15 innings for the Cubs in 2013, then moved to the Rangers last season, where he put up a 5.47 ERA and 4.78 FIP in 25 games, including eight starts, with 55 strikeouts and 14 walks in 80⅔ innings.
With veterans Erik Bedard and Chad Gaudin opening the season injured, the Dodgers wanted to add more starting pitching depth to complement Joe Wieland, Zach Lee, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger, all of whom are on the 40-man roster and all of whom have been optioned to the minors. The club also signed Freddy Garcia, 38, to a minor league deal on Monday.
Though Baker has been a starter for the bulk of his career, he pitched the same number of innings (40⅓) both as a starter and reliever in 2014. His numbers weren't good either way (ERA over 5 in both cases), he did strikeout 33 in relief and only 22 as a starter, and allowed six home runs as a reliever compared to nine as a starter, giving him a 4.02 FIP in relief compared to 5.54 as a starter.
Baker's best years came in Minnesota, where Baker was 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA, a 102 ERA+ in parts of seven years, with 770 strikeouts and 224 walks in 958 innings. He's always been a fly ball pitcher, but he has been even more of one since his procedure. With the Twins, Baker had a 34.1-percent ground ball rate and 45-percent fly ball rate. In 2013-2014, his 25.7-percent ground ball rate ranks 348th among 349 pitchers with at least 90 innings, to go along with a 51.5-percent fly ball rate.
If Baker joins Triple-A Oklahoma City, he will likely be joined by left-hander Ryan Buchter, which means we are nearly two-thirds of the way to a nursery rhyme trio (or close enough) pitching in a game together. Perhaps the Dodgers can sign a Bill Candlestickmaker next. Or...