By Evan Brunell
It's going to be rather difficult for the Cubs to jettison its high-salaried players, as many are either making too much money or not performing up to snuff. (Read more on the high-salaried players available for trade.)
That's not the case with utility fielder Jeff Baker, who is drawing trade interest and has been linked to the Red Sox and Phillies. Both teams are seeking a right-handed bat capable of playing the outfield, which Baker can provide, but he doesn't want to be moved.
“I think I have a pretty good niche and role here that’s functional,” Baker told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I can play some positions that we might have a need going forward."
Baker, 30, has carved out a career thus far with the Rockies and Cubs as a platoon player who has played every position on the field save for catcher, shortstop and left field. Baker usually amasses 200-300 at-bats a year thanks to his ability as a right-handed batter to hit left-handed pitching, as his line of .321/.370/.549 indicates, versus a .241/.295/.370 mark against righties. Baker's whole package makes him a valuable player at just $1.175 million for the year.
“I know personally I want to stay here. I hope it is all just rumors," Baker added. "We’ve been through some rough patches and we’re trying to play better now, but I would like to be part of that team that plays well here. I remember coming here in ’07 when they were winning the NL Central and how much fun that was. I want to be on one of those teams.”
Unfortunately, Baker has no way to prevent the Cubs from dealing him. With Chicago playing poorly and in desperate need of a rebuild and new blood, Baker is one of the few players who can bring back a piece for the future that could have an impact.
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