Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting To Know: Jeff Baker

Name: Jeff Baker

Position: 2nd Base/Utility

Batting Order Position: 7th?

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Opening Day Age: 29

Uniform Number: 28

Is he content being behind Mike Fontenot on the depth chart?: No.

Carrie Muskat reported that he has been working on his hitting since December near his home in Virginia.
"I always prepare like I'm going to be a starter," Baker said. "I believe I can play every day in the big leagues and I can be productive and help a team win. It doesn't really change how I go about my business or my offseason.”

In Colorado, he was blocked by guys like Garret Atkins, Matt Holliday, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes, and Todd Helton.  It's hard to imagine why he doesn't seem overly concerned about competing with Mike Fontenot.

Can he ever run for President of the United States?: No.

He is a United States citizen, but he was born in Bad Kissengen, Germany when his father was stationed there while in the Army.  So, he'll have to settle for Congress or a cabinet position when he is done playing baseball.  I would think he would make an excellent Secretary of Being Awesome.'s Most Similar Batter: Willy Aybar (cue Sad Trombone)

Other Similar Batters That Don't Make Us Want to Cry: Ben Zobrist, Ian Stewart, Ben Francisco

Why We Might Like Him:
  • He is not Aaron Miles or Ryan Freel.  
  • He is the only middle infielder the Cubs have who meets the minimum height requirements for riding the rollercoasters at Great America.
  • He actually hit better than Mark DeRosa did last year after the All-Star Break.
Why We Might Hate Him:
  • He is not Mark DeRosa.
  • Fast starts are not his thing.  He is a career .194/.241/.326/.566 hitter in March and April.
  • The Cubs traded someone named Al Alburquerque for him, thereby denying the ability to make easy Bugs Bunnyesque "missed that left turn at Albuquerque" jokes in the future. (This is probably only important to me.)
  • He gets hurt a lot.
If You Rearrange the Letters in His Name You Get: "FAB FREE JERKY" (from Jeffrey Baker)

What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:

  • The Cub Reporter - "He's Jeff Baker, he basically had one great month for the Cubs last year and isn't going to keep up that .374 BABIP he had for the Cubs last year...."
  • Hire Jim Essian - "On the other hand, Baker doesn’t have five-o-clock shadow, and your wife (probably) wouldn’t eagerly take him into her mouth while you were standing there, watching and sobbing."
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse - "Defensively, Baker seems to be pretty close to league average at 2nd base. He can also fill in at third, as well as the corners in the outfield. Put it all together and you come back to that s-word I used a few paragraphs ago: serviceable. Hit him 7th or 8th, maybe slightly higher against lefties, and you'll be fine. Better than wasting $18 million over two years on Orlando Hudson or some other old free agent, right?"
  • Another Cubs Blog - "It is likely [Baker and Fontenot] platoon. While Baker isn't nearly as bad against righties as Fontenot is against lefties, Fontenot's advantage vs righties is huge. He's also a good fielder so you're not only gaining offense, but you're improving your defense too. Assuming Baker doesn't exceed expectations by a great amount, these two will end up platooning."


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