Twins Bank on Baker

7 Mar

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So a little after noon today, I was driving on 35W north, on my way to the Twins Blogger Get-Together in Roseville (more on that later). The Twins were on the radio, playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Scott Baker was on the mound. In the top of the first, he needed just nine pitches to get through the inning, two outs coming on strikeouts. While driving in my car, alone, I started signing a song (yes, again, to myself) with made up words but the general theme of the lyrics was “Sign him now. Sign Scott Baker! Sign him now. Sign him for a bunch of years!”


Well, after showing up at Buffalo Wild Wings, it came out that the Twins had in fact already signed Scott Baker, earlier in the day, to a four year, $15.25 million contract. It includes a $9 million option for a fifth year.


Immediately I started signing, “Sign Joe Mauer! Sign Kevin Slowey…”


So now to the specifics of Baker’s contract:

·         In 2009, he will make $750,000 which is a nice raise. Typically a player with 2+ years of service time will still be closer to the league minimum of around $400,000, so that’s a nice jump for this year.

·         He will make $3 million in 2010. Seems like a big jump, but did you notice the raises that the arbitration-eligible players this offseason received raises? According to MLB Trade Rumors, salaries of arbitration-eligible players increased over 172% Ervin Santana of the Angels increased his salary from league minimum in 2008 to $3.8 million in 2009. Santana was an All-Star, but Baker’s numbers were just as good.

·         In 2011, he will make $5 million. Again, a nice raise from the previous year, but if he continues to pitch as well as he has so far, it will be a bargain. If he continues to improve, a possibility, he could make $2-4 million more in arbitration at that time.

·         2012 would have been his final arbitration-eligible year. It is also the final year of his guaranteed contract. He will make $6.5 million. Comments on that salary would be the same as 2011. In arbitration, he would probably be a $10 million pitcher.

·         There is also a club option for $9.25 million in 2013. Again, if he’s healthy and pitching to the level of the #3 starter, this will be better than market by far. Also, this would be his free agency season, so if he was even a #3 starter, he would be getting some major offers. My assumption would be that if he’s pitching that well, it will be an easy decision to pick up the option. It is interesting that there isn’t any payment to Baker if the Twins do not pick up that option. Most long-term deals with option years have the club option to buy-out that option for $500,000 or so. I’m surprised this one doesn’t.  But again, it is great for the Twins.


Back in February, there was a Twinkie Town diary on a Baker long-term deal.



Seth’s Prediction






$2 million

$3 million


$4.5 million

$5 million


$6 million

$6.5 million


$7.75 million

Option – $9.25 million (no buyout)


Option – $9 million ($1 million buyout)



5 years, $22 million + Option

4 years, $15.25 million + Option


Of course, if Baker gets hurt and ends up missing a year or two out of the four years, it won’t look like such a great deal. But Baker has a strong arm, he has not had any arm problems to this point. He has a very fluid motion. He has proven himself on the mound, and clearly in the clubhouse and training rooms.


We may have a different opinion in a few years, but all we can judge is the deal at the time of the signing, and in my mind, this is an excellent deal for both sides. The Twins should be very happy, and now Baker and his family have a lifetime of financial security. And the Twins have their Opening Day starter this year on their roster for the long-term.


Again, this is the kind of deal that Twins fans should be absolutely thrilled about. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Comments below.



Real briefly, I wanted to talk about the great time that we had at Buffalo Wild Wings this afternoon. When I got there, I was met by a couple of guys and we sat down at a table for a dozen. Within an hour, the table was more than full. The news at the beginning was that the Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic 3-2. Then we saw the end of the Gophers loss to Michigan. Then came news of the Baker signing. And there was a lot of fun-filled baseball talk. Yes, the WBC game between Team USA and Team Canada was on the TV and we kept tabs on that, particularly when Justin Morneau came to bat, but it was just a lot of baseball talk.


When I got there at about 12:45, I was met by Parker Hageman and Roger Dehring. And when they switched our primary TV from the Puerto Rico/Panama game at about 5:45, Marty Andrade, Phil Mackey, Aaron Gleeman and I took it as a hint that they wanted us to quit taking up a table if we were just getting pop refills! Here is a look at the bloggers in attendance. I hate to miss someone, but if I did, please remind me… and accept my apology. Do me a favor and click on each link, check out their sites, and if you like it, bookmark it!

·         Marty Andrade  Marty Andrade’s Blog

·         Roger Dehring, Jon Marthaler and Adam Peterson (who flew in from Maryland this morning… just for the get together! Just kidding!) – from Twinkie Town

·         Parker HagemanOver the Baggy

·         Nick Nelson organized the event – Nick & Nick’s Twins Blog

·         Barbara ThomasBab’s Blotter

·         John BonnesThe Twins Geek

·         Phil, and KFAN

·         Will Young – He’s been retired for awhile, but not the necessary five years to be on the Hall of Fame ballot.

·         JimCrikket – one of the top blog commenters made the trek north and was there.

 Please feel free to send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or discussion points in the Comments here.


3 Responses to “Twins Bank on Baker”

  1. Rick March 8, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    Oh this is a good deal for the Twins and a good security measure for Scott Baker. I love this type of pro active activity by the front office. And I totally agree with you Seth, let’s get deals done with Slowey and Maurer. As fans you are always a little leary, especially with pitchers, to see that capital committed. You think of Joe Mays. But I do remember that when it happened with Joe, I thought it was a great move on the Twins part. Hopefully he stays healthy and we as fans can appreciate what Billy Smith and the Pohlad’s have tried to do to keep the Twins competitive for years to come.

  2. mike wants wind March 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    Great deal. I’d like it even more if they had front loaded it with a signing bonus, so their payroll wouldn’t be so high in the out years. If Slowey and two Ofers get the same deal, they will be hard pressed to re-sign Mauer unless they are going to really up the payroll (and still also retain the third Ofer and Liriano). Of course, most people aren’t thinking about Nathan being older by then and maybe off the books.


  1. From the Notebook « Marty Andrade - March 8, 2009

    […] get together I got to meet Seth Stohs, Aaron Gleeman, Phil Mackey, John Bonnes, Nick Nelson and others. What amazed me about this get together was the speed of the conversation. These guys follow […]

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