The Dodgers have reportedly acquired flame throwing right hander Dylan Baker from the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, but it’s important to understand why. Baker a 25-year old from Roseburg, Oregon had spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians before they recently placed him on waivers. The Brewers claimed him and then quickly designated him for assignment before waiver trading him to the Dodgers. The deal is for cash considerations or the Dodgers will send Milwaukee a player to be named later.
Source: Dodgers claim RHP Dylan Baker off waivers from Milwaukee.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 2, 2018
There are a few reasons for the move. I’ll go over them in a minute. Baker Pitched for the Indian’s double-A affiliate Akron RubberDucks before an assignment with the Arizona league club. Baker appeared in just 17 games due to succumbing to Tommy John surgery. In 2017 he posted a 2.25 ERA in the Arizona league and a 2.84 ERA across 12.2 frames for the Eastern League club.
Overall he posted a 10-1 strikeout to walk ratio between the two teams and struck out 16 while walking only 1. Baker has been pitching since 2012 and has posted a career 4.43 ERA and struck out 7.9 in five minor league seasons. He was once a starter and has made 48 starts in 65 appearances. He started two games in 2017. According to reports the youngster was touching the upper 90’s on the radar gun, so it seems he’s got some legitimate talent.
So why did the Dodgers acquire him? Let’s discuss the possibilities.
- The Dodgers need a pitcher in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. You know what they say, Oklahoma City needs pitchers too. Maybe the Dodgers are thinking about using him in the Tulsa rotation. Perhaps there is a spot to fill on either roster. Baker may be just minor league depth/fodder and we’ll never or rarely hear about him again. Unless he becomes the next Wilmer Font, then he’ll win PCL pitcher of the year before pitching like garbage at the major league level.
- The Dodgers believe that he has the talent and durability to help the major league club. It’s possible however unlikely that Baker could provide depth for the middle relief corp that just lost Brandon Morrow to free agency.
- Or number three; he’s just a roster spot holder. A 40-man roster spot holder. You see, what I have recently found out from reading several different articles is that MLB doesn’t like 40-man roster spots to go empty for too long. Many clubs will make trades to clear roster space before making additional moves. For instance the Dodgers needed to clear roster space for Tom Koehler. All 40-man roster spots have to be filled at some points. A roster spot can remain unfilled for a little while, but MLB generally frowns upon this. Again, at some point the teams have to fill their empty roster spots, and that probably explains why the front office acquires random bodies like the Ryan Lavarnways, and the Dylan Bakers. I think he’s there to fill a roster spot until it’s needed for somebody else.
Baker has actually suffered quite a few setbacks during his young career according to an interview with letsgotribe.com. A fractured leg hampered his early career before the Tommy John surgery. He’s an Alaska native, has four pitches in his arsenal and had his hair set on fire by one of his old teammates. He also really loves Netflix. He seems like a great guy and I’m honestly rooting for him.
So there you have it. The Dodgers have acquired right hander Dylan Baker and there’s probably a good reason for it. I think its reason number three, but it could be number 2 as well. Or it could be a combination of more than one of those above mentioned reasons. What do you think it is?