I’m sorry for the horrible headline, but I’m in a pretty good mood this evening as I sit down to write this (yes, the morning news is written in the evening). I’m not quite sure why I’m happy. I can’t say that it’s because of the first off-season move. I’m just happy and that’s a fun place to be.

If you didn’t see it, and that’s entirely possible due to the massive amount of other news that came down the MLB news portal, the Cubs made their first real move this off-season, signing Scott Baker to a one year deal with a $5.5 million base and up to $1.5 million in incentives. Baker spend the entire season last year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and was let go by the Twins. For the Cubs, the deal is low risk, potentially high reward. We commented that it’s basically another Paul Maholm type deal. If he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching, he can be flipped at the deadline for prospects to continue the rebuild or signed long term. If he doesn’t pitch well, which is very possible, we lose nothing.

If you’re unfamiliar with his body of work, here are his career numbers:

Year Age W L ERA GS IP HR ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2005 23 3 3 3.35 9 53.2 5 133 1.155 8.0 0.8 2.3 5.4 2.29
2006 24 5 8 6.37 16 83.1 17 70 1.560 12.3 1.8 1.7 6.7 3.88
2007 25 9 9 4.26 23 143.2 15 101 1.329 10.1 0.9 1.8 6.4 3.52
2008 26 11 4 3.45 28 172.1 20 122 1.178 8.4 1.0 2.2 7.4 3.36
2009 27 15 9 4.37 33 200.0 28 100 1.190 8.6 1.3 2.2 7.3 3.38
2010 28 12 9 4.49 29 170.1 23 91 1.344 9.8 1.2 2.3 7.8 3.44
2011 29 8 6 3.14 21 134.2 15 129 1.173 8.4 1.0 2.1 8.2 3.84
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Personally, I really like the signing because it’s low risk. This is a regime that has expressed to fans that the rebuild is going to come primarily through the farm and supplemented with smart free agents that make sense for the long term plan. Baker accomplishes that.

Now, the reason you may not have seen the deal was because you were blinded by yet another Marlins rebuild project. If you didn’t see it, the specs are:

The Marlins are sending Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto in exchange for pieces for their rebuild. No word on if the trade has been completely finalized as of this writing, and based on the age we live in where things seem to have a propensity of changing at the last moment (See: Phil Jackson and Carlos Marmol), I’m reserving judgement on this one. What I would say is this. There are those who will complain that they are tired of seeing the Marlins do this time and time again, but I would argue that if it meant we could see a World Series in Chicago on the Northside just once in my lifetime, I’d gladly sit through this type of regime. The Marlins, as unorthodox as the methods have been, have won the ultimate prize twice. Something is working over there.

The trade did get me thinking about the salaries involved. Obviously the reason for the deal is strictly salary dump for the fish. If the contracts that were signed were not guaranteed, like the way it is in the NFL, would that change things? Would that be a better system or would in lead to bad consequences in baseball? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Personally, I’m a fan of the guaranteed deals because it holds the owners / GM’s accountable for wise spending. Unfortunately it also has the potential for causing stuff like this, which is not a service to the fans in the short term. Let me know how you feel.

That’s all I’ve got for you. Let’s go out with Bowling for Soup.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail