The Seattle Mariners have agreed to a minor league deal with right-hander Scott Baker, according to a baseball source. The deal includes a major league spring training invite, and will pay Baker $1 million in guaranteed money if he makes the major league roster. It also includes bonus and incentive clauses that could be worth an additional $3.25 million, bringing the total potential value of the contract to $4.25 million.
Baker also had offers from the Rangers, Indians and Royals this offseason, but ultimately chose the Mariners over the Indians and will likely compete for a spot in the team's starting rotation. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Erasmo Ramirez will retain their spots at the top of the team's staff, but Baker will have the chance to compete with young guns like Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer for the final two spots.
Baker, 32, has made only three starts over the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery and suffering multiple setbacks in his recovery. He notched a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Cubs at the end of last season, showing that he has fully recovered and is ready to make an impact in the majors for the first time since 2011.
In eight major league seasons with the Twins (2005-2011) and Cubs (2013), Baker is the owner of a lifetime 63-48 record and 4.14 ERA in 166 games (162 starts). At only 32 years of age, he is a low-risk, high-reward candidate for the Mariners to take a flier on.