By Shannon Drayer
The Mariners have announced that they have signed right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Baker, who missed the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, made three starts with the Cubs at the end of last season. According to a number of reports, the deal is for $1 million if he makes the major-league team, and includes a number of incentives that could earn him up to $4.25 million.
The Mariners are bringing Baker in to contribute to the rotation. This is more than an extra arm sign you often see this close to spring training. When healthy, Baker has proven to be a decent No. 3 starter type. It is a risk-reward sign, but different from the signing of most players coming off injury. Baker actually got up on the mound at the end of last year and has had what I would assume to be a normal full get ready for the season offseason rather than a rehab, ease back into pitching and see what happens in the spring offseason. No guarantees, of course, but this seems to have better chance for reward.
The Mariners most likely aren't done trying to add to the rotation. As I reported last week, I am hearing that general manager Jack Zduriencik is more interested in acquiring a starter via trade than investing in one of the remaining free-agent arms. In his piece today, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com looks at this possibility and suggests that the Mariners are poised to make a couple more moves, perhaps bringing in Fernando Rodney and Nelson Cruz.
• The Mariners have traded Carlos Peguero to the Royals for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Peguero was designated for assignment Jan. 16 to make room for John Buck on the 40-man roster.
• We had an opportunity to learn a little bit more about new Mariners president Kevin Mather on "Tthe Hot Stove League Show" Tuesday night. If you missed the show, which included interviews with Mike Zunino and Mark Langston and some great story telling by Dave Valle, the podcast can be found here.