The Rangers announced today they have given veteran utility-man and lefty-masher Jeff Baker a minor league contract and an invite to spring training for the upcoming season. Baker, 31, will have to earn his way onto the 25-man big league roster, but his versatility, power, and experience should give him a fighting chance.
The former Rockie, Cub, Tiger, and Brave is a career .266/.316/.428 hitter over eight seasons in the majors, and while he isn’t starting material, he can be productive if utilized properly off the bench, as in seasons like 2009 and 2010 when he was was worth 1.4 WAR and 1.1 WAR respectively.
Baker also has experience at several positions, including second base (his main spot on the field traditionally), first base, third base, and the corner outfield spots. When batting against southpaws, he’s a whole different hitter — as evidenced by his career .362 wOBA against them compared to just .288 when facing fellow righties. This is nothing more than a depth signing, but the Ranger’s home stadium is cozy and plays nicely for power hitters, and Baker has a chance to contribute positively.