In early December, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore quoted a "person familiar with the situation" who said that in their continued efforts to bolster the bench, the Washington Nationals expressed interest in free agent bench bat Jeff Baker. "Baker would provide an upgrade, at least based on track record, over Tyler Moore," the WaPost writer noted, and, "[w]ith Scott Hairston, McLouth and Baker, the Nationals would have three veterans accustomed to coming off the bench, rather than young players forced to adjust to inconsistent roles."
Baker, 32, spent his ninth major league season in Texas, putting up a .279/.360/.545 line over 74 games and 175 plate appearances with the Rangers in which he hit eight doubles and 11 HRs while seeing time at first, second, third and each of the corner outfield positions. Over his nine major league campaigns, the Colorado Rockies' '02 4th Round pick has put up a combined .267/.321/.440 line in 617 games and 1,653 PAs over which he's been worth +2.4 fWAR.
FBB's Coverage of NatsFest:
In reporting on the Nats' interest in reliever Grant Balfour last week (interest that Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo confirmed this past weekend), FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Nationals, "... have made no secret that they want to add another bat off the bench." CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter this afternoon that Baker remains a player of interest for Washington:
marlins, nats among teams interested in jeff baker, who had .905 ops in '13. orioles possibly, too.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 28, 2014
Baker has been linked to the Rangers, Giants and Yankees as well this winter. His numbers against left-handers might be particularly attractive for the Nationals, whose left-handed bats struggled last season. With Texas in 2013, Baker had a .204/.250/.286 line in 52 PAs vs right-handed pitchers, but a .314/.407/.667 line with seven doubles and 10 HRs in 123 plate appearances. In his career, Baker has a .298/.353/.522 line in 827 PAs vs lefties.
Jeff Baker, Gar-Field High alum and masher of lefties, is close to signing. Nats are still in. Background from Dec.: http://t.co/xTsHEGsrc1— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) January 28, 2014
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