Tigers acquire utilityman Jeff Baker for two PTBNLs

The Tigers added the kind of right-handed role hitter they’ve been seeking for the stretch run, acquiring utilityman Jeff Baker from the Cubs on Sunday for two minor-league players to be named later.

The players will have to be announced no later than Oct. 31.

It’s a deal that had been in the works before last week’s nonwaiver Trade Deadline but got pushed back when the Cubs had bigger trades to make. They also had right-handed hitting outfielder Reed Johnson, whom Dombrowski confirmed they also had discussed.

Once the Cubs put Baker on trade waivers after the deadline, the Tigers made a claim and finished their deal.

“They had so much going on right before the deadline — they traded [Ryan] Dempster, they had some other talks going on — that they basically put this one on hold and said, ‘Let’s see what happens,’” Dombrowski said. “We did claim him on waivers, so we had until today to make a deal. So we were able to make that happen.

The 31-year-old Baker, an eight-year National League veteran in Colorado and Chicago, is batting .269 this season with 10 doubles, four homers and 20 RBIs in 54 games, covering 134 at-bats. Two-thirds of those at-bats have come against lefties, off whom he’s batting .275 with eight doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and a .771 OPS.

“Primarily we were looking for somebody to just swing the bat versus left-handed pitching,” Dombrowski said. “He’s a good fit in that regard, has hit them well throughout his career. You look at our ballclub versus right-handed pitching, we like how our lineup shapes up at this time.”

Baker has played second and first base this season, plus both corner outfield spots. He has also played third base in past years.

In terms of Baker’s place, Dombrowski said, “It’s a lot like, really, what we were hoping Ryan Raburn would do. He has struggled for us this year. Now, of course, he’s on the disabled list anyway at this point.”

In many ways, Raburn has become the poster child for the Tigers’ struggles against left-handed pitching. He hit lefties for a .274 batting average and .807 OPS last year, including seven home runs in 146 at-bats, but slumped to a .165 average this year. He’s actually hitting right-handers slightly better this season.

Except for a brief stint at Triple-A Toledo at the end of May, Raburn has stuck in the big leagues all year, in part because the Tigers haven’t had a right-handed hitting outfielder to replace him. Now that Baker fills that job, Raburn’s role falls into serious question.

Raburn went on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday morning. Dombrowski said they don’t know how long he could be out. Detroit recalled Danny Worth from Triple-A Toledo Sunday morning to take Raburn’s spot, but that could be the opening that Baker takes once the Tigers announce a corresponding move later Sunday.

Baker is expected to join the Tigers on Monday in Detroit for their series opener against the Yankees.

24 Comments

Danny Worth was already optioned to Toledo

First off, today’s game. It was a prime example of why, although I may give up on a game, I never ever turn it off. You just don’t know what’s going to happen in baseball, and there aren’t too many sports you can truthfully say that about. That was a classic.
I did think Dirks should have hit for Berry in the 9th. Q is just too excitable to stay within himself and do the job in that situation. If the strategy was to save Dirks for the 5-run 10th, then it worked to perfection. I also wanted to see more of our lefthanders pitch today against that lineup, and I thought Scherzer went one inning too many, as I said at the end of the 4th. This stuff isn’t all that hard to spot.
Now I’m wondering how JL handles the catching duties for this week. Avila didn’t get his one day off.
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On this waiver trade, it’s typical Dombrowski. I think it’s as good an acquisition as any, taking into account that we weren’t going to pull off another big deal like the Sanchez/Infante trade. It’s the kind of deal that gets made in August and fills a need. I’m okay with this as long as JL plays it for what it is: a bat against lefties.
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And I got my sweep. Excellent work, gentlemen.

Need to say this to JL detractors…His teams grind and support one another (see Tigers/Indians on 8/5 and Cabrera’s treatment of AJ postgame, after his theatrics). Now, consider the Rangers and Hamilton and Oswalt.

Washington seems to be a good guy, but he has diva problems.

Oswalt is a JERK!

I was hoping for 2 of 3 for the Tigers and 2 of 3 for the Angels. I guess this works out the same but the WSox are becoming a little worrisome. Someone mentioned their young bullpen eventually failing and they did acquire Brett Myers to help but the youngsters are not showing a collapse yet. We know the Angels are always a problem for the Tigers, especially Torii Hunter.

Saw Vargas was MLB pitcher for July. Heard the Tigers were interested in him. Think Sanchez was the better option. Vargas is another local MLB guy. Did not stand out like DY. Concerned DY will be dumped and then rocket to his projected stardom. Thankfully, the Tigers have DD to sort thru these potential tranactions. Few, if any better.

A Tiger fan living in Seattle wrote here when I mentioned Vargas that he was not that good out of Seattle. He became another pitcher in July. Still he has allowed 25 HR for the season.

I usually tape the game on Sunday, and watch later on after running errands. My wife had taped the game for me, but instead of taping two hours over, she taped one. So guess what. The tape ran out with Cleveland ahead 8-5 in the top of the 10th. I came upstairs to check to see if the final was 8-5, and almost passed out. I did watch the highlights, and must agree that this is the most stunning victory of the year. Not going to ramble a lot. The Benoit Homer curse is repeating itself more than one would like. Delmon is dead in the five spot. Worth is a waste of bench space. 90% of Major league clubs would have scored that run from third, somehow.
So, what did I like:
1. Even with the strikeout, Infante is beginning to make a difference.
2. Biggy’s Sac Fly off Vinny in the 7th. to tie.
3. Five runs off Chris Perez(Now you know who we are) with two outs in the 10th.

Miggy is such a class player, that Ajax be in on the post game interview. And I didn’t even mention their contributions. Wow! What a win! Extremely proud of these guys tonight. Good night to all!

I left out insisting

The Tigers will win their first back to back division titles ever. And first back to back postseasons since 1934/35. That is a lock.
The White Sox cant stop them.They will fade. Even if not, it is for the Tigers to lose it.Player by player they are a best team.

better

If the season ended today, the Tigers would play Oakland in the wild card game. That’s a matchup not many would expect. My question is, how is homefield for this game determined? This info has been surprisingly difficult to find.

I heard it was best record and if a tie, on head to head results.

That was one of the articles I read in my search, but the writer was going on and on and I gave up on it since I was looking for one lone fact.
Thanks guys.

WOW … So I had to leave the house at 5PM to go to a family function. Just for the heck of it, I fired up the PVR (as Rich said, you just never know). I got home and picked up where I left off and could not believe it. Best win of the year, by far. Great redemption for Omar and great walk by my boy Dirks. Jackson and Miggy .. clutch like they have been all year.
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In back to back innings, I can say I dont believe what I just saw.
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Benoit needs to get sorted out, but for now I will relish the unexpected win.
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I left grumpy and will go to bed happy. I loved reading everyone’s posts here after I watched. It was like I was watching it again.
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Good night, all.
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Go Tigers.
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– Bob

Upon returning to work this afternoon, I suddenly became ill and had to come home. Migraine had me down but not out. Layed on the sofa and listened to the game. Could not believe it. Never shut it off and never game up. Go Tigers!!!

gave. My head is still hurting. A real special day for Tiger fans today.

Believe it or not I just checked the this Blog and wasn’t sure if I was understanding what some of you folks were writing! I left after the top of the 10th for a long, needed bike ride. Spent some hours at a lake, bent my wifes ear about how devastating this loss was and then 5 minutes ago I check the Blog.
Stunned is not the word.
This may be the turning point of the season.
There is Joy in Mudville after all.

Goll-dangit I was SURE it was over. Was listening to Dan and Jim while watching on TV. Taped it. Have watched the 10th 6+ times now. Possible turning point.
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Gotta win this series against NYY tho.

we were there for the game – got our money’s worth! I bet a lot of folks are kicking themselves for leaving early – thanking my Dad for teaching me young that you never leave a game early no matter what – if they can score 3 then we can too – I am glad we won, glad it ended after 10 too – boy the sun was baking hot and the game took forever long.

Scherzer was left in too long, it was hard to believe he had as many strike outs as he did – did not seem like it there – even his outs were well hit balls. I am so worked up still this morning after the end to that game – have to watch some highlights on the web to see somethings I could not see close up – the call with Laird the first one to review.

Way to go boys!

Why do I have a bad feeling about the two PTBNLs we will surrender late this year to the Cubs?
Why do I feel we vastly overpaid for this mid-tier infielder?

Baker who is hitting .275 against lefties this year will start against LHP in RF, @1B, or @DH. For the Cubs, he started 20 games at first, 11 games in RF, and 3 games at second so far this season. Best option will be DH as Delmon will be happy to go to the outfield. Other two options have one unhappy player and us possibly weaker at two positions, defensively.

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