Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Jeff Baker dilemma

So I've been a little behind on the rumor that the Astros are interested in Rockies' utility man Jeff Baker, mainly because I'm having a hard time buying it. In trying to find a voice this off-season I bit on every little rumor that was out there, but I'm trying to be a little less reactionary. I don't know. Maybe that doesn't lead to hits, but it's still newsworthy.

So this OOO (out-of-options) 28-year old Jeff Baker holds a .303/.373/.508 line in the minors, and last season in Colorado hit .268/.322/.468 in 299 ABs with 85Ks to 26BBs. Not a bad bat, at all, just a little free-swinging.

It was reported that the Rockies were interested in Kyle Kendrick from Philadelphia for Baker, and the Rockies are hoping to trade him as opposed to releasing him. Who would the Astros trade? If the Rockies are looking for a pitcher (and they deserve to have it stuck to them because of the Jason Jennings trade), perhaps they may desire one Brandon Backe?

I'm trying to think of a good reason to keep Backe on the roster - other than as a fairly cheap insurance policy - than as trade bait. You don't receive compensation for a guy you released, so perhaps the thinking was to sign Backe, hope he had a good Spring, and then trade him. Well, he hasn't had a good Spring. He hasn't had much of a Spring at all, though he did throw for eight minutes today from 75 feet.

The next question becomes: what do you do with Jeff Baker once you trade for him? Fourth infielder? He can play most every position (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF), and that would send Smith and Maysonet down to Round Rock and put some heat on Blum.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?