The offseason is here, and it is time for the Padres to shape their roster for 2013. Everything I have read predicts that the Padres will pursue starting pitching. We have focused on pitching here, and Scott Baker would be an interesting candidate for the Padres rotation in 2013.
Baker, 31, has spent his entire career with the Twins. He missed virtually all of 2012, recovering from Tommy John surgery, but should be ready to go to start next season. The Twins declined Baker’s $9.25 million option for next year, but they do hope to resign him. If the deal falls through, Baker could be a fit in San Diego.
Baker turned in a magnificent 2011 for the Twinkies, when he 8-6, with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts. Between 2007 and 2011, Baker made at least 21 starts, and he threw a career-high 200 innings in 2009.
Before the injury, Baker featured a fastball in the low-90′s, a curve and a changeup. Baker also possesses the ability to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes. In 2011, Baker also averaged 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings, showing that the right-hander has the ability to be dominant.
Baker will make far less than his option that was declined. It will intriguing to see if the new ownership will negotiate incentive-laden contracts, something that Jeff Moorad opposed. Baker might be worth a base salary of $2-4 million. I would be skeptical of committing more than that to a pitcher coming off of a serious injury.