Scott Baker Signed Through 2012 With Option for 2013

This has already been mentioned on the site this afternoon.  Well done to everyone who's been so on the ball!

When we discussed this in early February, I anticipated the Twins signing Scott Baker to a three-year contract.  Pitchers in general are larger health risks than position players, meaning their long-term contracts carry more financial risk.  So when a mid-market team like the Minnesota Twins start talking about signing one of their young starters to a multi-year deal, was I about to suspect a possible five year deal?  No.  No, I was not.  In fact, this is exactly what I expected:

2009:  $1,250,000
2010:  $2,000,000
2011:  $2,900,000

As it turns out, the Twins did something just a bit more reasonable than what I anticipated they'd do, and bought out Baker for 2009 as well as his arbitration years of 2010 - 2012.  On top of that, they added an option for 2013 at what should be a very fair price.

This summer will be Baker's age-27 campaign.  For his service with the Twins to this point, he hasn't been rewarded with the peanuts my wannabe GM self would have offered.  No, the Twins signed Scott to a four-year, $15.25 million dollar deal.  With the 2013 option worth $9.25 big ones, that's a total of $24.5 million.  Let's compare that to a pair of deals that belong to a couple of other young starters, Paul Maholm of the Pirates and James Shields of the Rays.

Year

Scott Baker

Paul Maholm

James Shields

2009

$750, 000

$3,500,000

$1,500,000

2010

$3,000,000

$4,500,000

$2,500,000

2011

$5,000,000

$5,750,000

$4,250,000

2012

$6,500,000

$9,750,000*

$7,000,000*

2013

$9,250,000*

--

$9,000,000*

2014

--

--

$12,000,000*

* = Denotes Option Year

Maholm, 27 like Baker this year, is a year in front of Scott in terms of service time.  Comparing what Pittsburgh gave him to what Minnesota gave Baker, the difference over each player's arbitration years is only $750,000.  Shields, also 27, is making a bit less over his three arbitration years but also has three years of options worth $28 million dollars.

Year-to-year in comparison to his peers, this is a good deal for Baker and for the Twins.  Financially as a whole, this is a deal with a lot of inherent risk, but multi-year contracts almost always carry that burden.  The hope, as always, is that the security and investment pays off.

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