2010 Player Preview: Jeff Baker
When Mike Fontenot chose not to hit last year, Jim Hendry went out and got a Colorado Rockie cast off that wasn't playing any more. Jeff Baker came over to the Cubs and played pretty well, but it was a case of too little, too late when it came to the Cubs playoff hopes.
Baker hit .305 with the Cubs with an .810 OPS in 203 at bats. Not bad out of the second base spot, but is he likely to repeat that this year? Ehh....I doubt it. For the spring stats, it looks like Mike Fontenot will get the starting nod, with Baker getting some AB's against lefties. Baker doesn't have a great split difference, so he is serviceable against LH and RH pitchers.
My hope is that Baker takes the utility role on the infield and gets a couple starts a week. That would be good for Aramis Ramirez and Fontenot. Baker rates fine with defense at 3B and 2B. His UZR at 2B is 10.6 and at 3B is 7.7, so he shouldn't hurt the Cubs in the field.
If Fontenot struggles, I imagine that Baker will get the first shot, but he fails the Cubs should look at Starlin Castro and Theriot as middle infielders.