Tagged: Jeff Baker

10/16 Cubs complete Baker deal

The Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Marcelo Carreno from the Tigers to complete the Aug. 5 trade for infielder Jeff Baker. Carreno, 21, went 9-8 with a 3.23 ERA in 27 starts for Class A West Michigan, striking out 119 batters and walking 28 over 139 1/3 innings. He was ranked No. 11 prospect in the Tigers’ system by MLB.com The trade is now complete, with the Cubs receiving Carreno and a cash consideration for Baker. Baker, 31, batted .269 in 54 games with the Cubs before he was dealt to the Tigers, and batted .200 in 15 games with them before he was designated for assignment on Aug. 31, then traded to the Braves. He was 2-for-19 in 14 games with Atlanta.

— Carrie Muskat

8/5 Baker to Tigers

The Cubs continued to deal veteran players, sending utility man Jeff Baker to the Tigers on Sunday for two players to be named. The ability to move Baker helped the Cubs decide to promote top prospect Josh Vitters. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said they had some talks with the Tigers at the Trade Deadline about Baker, and Detroit claimed the versatile right-handed hitter off waivers. The two teams then worked out a deal.

“I’m happy for Jeff,” Hoyer said. “They wanted him a lot and he gets to go into a pennant race and we get to bring up Josh and give him a chance he’s earned.”

Baker wasn’t surprised at the news. The Cubs now have dealt Paul Maholm, Ryan Dempster, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Baker this week.

“When you see the direction they’re going here now, you knew it was a possibility,” Baker said. “When they made the moves with Maholm, Reed, and Demp, to be honest, I don’t blame them. They’ve got to go young and see what they’ve got and see what they’ve got for the future. I just made up 21 games in the standings, so I’m definitely excited about that.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/30 Countdown to Deadline

Will Ryan Dempster make his start Tuesday night for the Cubs? Or will he be in another uniform? Will a team take a chance on Matt Garza, who has not pitched in one week?

The Trade Deadline is a little more than 24 hours away, and the Cubs’ roster is still intact. Dempster has drawn interest from the Braves and Dodgers, and although the Braves have said they’ve moved on, the Cubs may come back to them if they can’t work out a deal with the Dodgers. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal points out that under the new CBA, there is no longer a required 24-hour waiting period for 10-and-5 players to approve a trade. That would mean any deals can go right to the deadline as long as the player gives consent. That applies to Dempster, who has 10 years in the big leagues and five with the same team.

Garza is in a different situation in that he would be under team control through 2013. But Garza’s elbow cramp came at a bad time for the Cubs. He had to leave his July 21 start after three innings. An MRI confirmed the cramping, and a little fluid in the elbow, but it’s not serious. The Cubs have X-rays to prove it. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen on Monday at Wrigley Field. Expect a few early bird scouts there to watch.

Paul Maholm may draw interest from teams, too. He’s 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA in his last six starts.

“As a manager, you’d be upset if anybody is gone as far as starting pitchers,” Dale Sveum said Sunday. “But that’s part of the game. Whatever happens, that’s part of what happens with organizations trying to do things different and trying to build for the future.”

The Cubs pitchers aren’t the only ones drawing interest. Teams looking for another bat for the bench are focusing on Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Jeff Baker. Johnson and Baker are well suited to their roles as bench players; DeJesus has been a starter. The Pirates were believed to be keeping an eye on Johnson and DeJesus.

Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer have been working the phones rather than talking to the media in the last few days. The deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

6/1 Decisions, decisions

There were some head-scratching incidents in the Cubs’ 4-3 loss to the Giants on Friday. Both second baseman Darwin Barney and first baseman Jeff Baker ran after Joaquin Arias’ popup in foul territory in the second, but the ball dropped between them.

“Barney said — I don’t remember his exact words — but he was saying, ‘You, you, you,’ and he shouldn’t say anything and Baker thought he heard something so he pulled away,” Dale Sveum said. “That didn’t hurt that much.”

Arias eventually struck out. In the Cubs third, Castro singled with one out, and broke to steal second but stopped running as he approached the bag and didn’t slide. He was easily thrown out.

“When I ran, I heard something, and I thought it was a foul ball,” Castro said. “It’s not a good time to run there. It was 2-0. I’ve got the green light, but it was not a good decision.”

This season has been a test of Sveum’s patience, but he’s not rattled.

“Guys are playing hard and preparing hard, and you go out every night and it’s a different night to win a baseball game,” Sveum said. “My patience hasn’t thinned because we’re losing. Guys are doing what they can and playing as hard as they can.”

— Carrie Muskat 

5/11 Cubs vs. Brewers

The Cubs have a very right-handed heavy lineup for Friday’s game against Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf. Chicago enters the game batting .240 against left-handed pitchers, 10th best in the National League. The Cardinals are first, hitting .301. This will be Matt Garza’s first start since April 29. He was skipped one time because of the flu. Here you go:

CF Johnson

RF Baker

SS Castro

1B LaHair

LF Soriano

3B Mather

C Castillo

2B Barney

P Garza

— Carrie Muskat

4/23 Baker gets start over LaHair

Jeff Baker started at first base Monday night against Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia instead of left-handed hitting Bryan LaHair.

“Right now, I’d like to see better at-bats [by LaHair] against left-handers,” Dale Sveum said. “He’s obviously swung the bat great against right-handed pitchers but Spring Training through now, we’ve talked about some things to try to adjust his approach against left-handed pitching, especially big league left-handed pitching specialists. We have to give him some at-bats as well. When a guy like Baker is sitting on your bench who kills left-handed pitching, you’ve got to get him in the lineup somehow.”

So far this season, LaHair is 0-for-6 against left-handed pitchers and batting .433 (13-for-30) against right-handers. Baker has a career .310 average against lefties and is batting .237 against right-handed pitchers.

— Carrie Muskat 

4/18 Marlins 9, Cubs 1

Dale Sveum missed seeing the home-run sculpture at Marlins Park do its thing Tuesday night when Hanley Ramirez hit a game-winning blast in the eighth. Unfortunately, he had a chance to see it twice on Wednesday. Ramirez and Donnie Murphy each hit two-run homers off Matt Garza to back Mark Buehrle, who helped himself with a rare RBI single, and power the Marlins to victory.

“It’s tough for the starting pitchers to know they have to be perfect all the time,” Sveum said.

What can he do to get the offense going? Sveum may tweak the lineup.

“You can do a lot of things,” he said. “Is it going to make a difference? You do mix and match and change a few things and see what happens. Tomorrow, it’s going to be our normal lineup in there but I might switch things around a little bit.”

* The Cubs are 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the two games vs. the Marlins.

“Guys are busting their tail in the cage,” Jeff Baker said. “We have an approach, we’re just not executing now. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes when you try to get on the gas a little more and go harder, harder, harder it gets worse. Hopefully guys relax and we can have better at-bats and get a little momentum and have some fun.”

It’s only April, but the Cubs need to turn things around.

“I think there’s urgency every day you come to the yard,” Baker said. “You want to win, you want to represent your team, you want to represent yourself. Yeah, it stinks. It stinks when you’re not winning and you’re not playing well, especially when you know how hard guys work. Hopefully, it’ll turn.”

* Garza could’ve helped himself in fifth when the Cubs had two on and one out but he failed to get a bunt down.

“He struggles with the bat,” Sveum said. “He knows he has to get better at it and works at it but it’s different in the game when somebody is throwing 90 miles an hour up there, even though Buehrle is 86 [mph].”

“It’s frustrating, man,” Garza said. “I’m going to keep working.”

When Garza exited, he was seen talking to himself.

“I always say something on the way out, good or bad,” he said. “That doesn’t change. It’s not directed toward [the umpires]. They’re doing their job the best the way they can, just like we are. This game is meant for human error. That’s what makes it so fun and so frustrating at the same time.”

* Jeff Samardzija will try to get the Cubs on track Thursday when he closes the series against Ricky Nolasco.

— Carrie Muskat 

4/18 Cubs lineup

The Cubs are batting .298 against lefties this season, second best in the National League, and fourth best in MLB and they’ll try to take advantage of a familiar foe, Mark Buehrle. The former White Sox starter is now with the Marlins and he gets the call Wednesday night at Marlins Park. The Cubs lineup is overloaded with right-handed hitters:

RF Johnson

2B Barney

SS Castro

LF Soriano

1B Baker

3B Stewart

C Soto

CF Byrd

P Garza

— Carrie Muskat