The Cubs made a curious move to me today. Not so much the trade for Jeff Baker, but why DFA Ryan Freel? I guess it comes down to a roster spot, but I think I’d find a way to make it work and still keep Freel. Suggestions as to how that could have happened? Here is the media release from the team.
The Chicago Cubs today acquired infielder Jeff Baker from the Colorado Rockies for minor league right-handed pitcher Al Alburquerque. To make room for Baker on the roster, infielder Ryan Freel was designated for assignment.
Baker, who will wear uniform number 28, today was activated from the 60-day disabled list by the Rockies prior to the trade and will be available for the Cubs tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
The 28-year-old Baker batted .268 (80-for-299) with 22 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 104 games last year for the Rockies. The right-handed batter and thrower saw action at second base (49 games, 47 starts), first base (22 games, 13 starts), third base (nine games, seven starts) and right field (three games, three starts) in last season.
Baker has been limited to only 12 games with the Rockies this season due to a sprained left hand that sent him to the disabled list on April 29. The six-foot-two, 210-pounder has been on a rehab assignment since June 20 with Single-A Modesto (two games) and Triple-A Colorado Springs (seven games). With the Rockies this year, Baker batted .130 (3-for-23) with one triple and three RBI prior to his injury.
In all or part of five major league seasons with the Rockies (2005-09), Baker is a career .257 hitter (144-for-561) with 35 doubles, six triples, 22 home runs and 88 RBI in 231 big league games. He has played first base (44 games), second base (52 games), third base (24 games), left field (eight games) and right field (26 games).
Baker was selected by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2002 Draft out of Clemson University. He departed Clemson after three years as the school’s all-time leader with 59 home runs and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award in 2002 after recording 24 home runs and 79 RBI. Baker made his major league debut as the club’s Opening Day third baseman in 2005.
Alburquerque, 23, went 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA (8 ER/34.2 IP) in 24 relief appearances for Single-A Daytona this season.
Acquired by the Cubs from Baltimore for Joey Gathright on May 8, Freel batted .143 (4-for-28) with one run scored and one RBI in 14 games with Chicago.