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Baker signing overshadowed, but it's got significance

Somehow the Cubs' signing of a non-star pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery was overshadowed in the baseball world by the Marlins dumping a handful of stars to Toronto.

But I like the Scott Baker signing. It's not splashy, it's not spectaclular, but it's low-risk with the fairly likely possibility of resulting in a decent reward. Basically, I think it's everything Dave Cameron of Fangraphs said he thinks it is.

The rotation was the one area the Cubs really had to shore up this offseason. In Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Baker, three-fifths of it is written in a very dark shade of pencil, if not in pen. Travis Wood is probably going to be given the inside track at one of the two remaining spots. Maybe they'll throw a few million at another veteran on a short-term deal, or maybe they'll bring in a few guys on non-guaranteed contracts to battle for the fifth spot. Either way, the Baker signing gets the rotation a lot closer to being settled than it was at the beginning of the offseason.

It's not that the Cubs are done shopping. They've got to find someone better than Luis Valbuena and Ian Stewart to play third base. They've got to add some bullpen arms. Of course, they'll be on the lookout for young talent to add to their rebuild, but they don't really have any chips to trade for real building blocks. But I think they have a shot to be something better than terrible in 2013, and Baker's a step in them being signficantly more competitive.


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