The Braves traded Richmond reliever Brad Baker to the Boston Red Sox Sunday to complete the Franklin Nunez trade from spring training.
Baker was signed last November as a six-year free agent after three and a half season in the San Diego Padres' system. The lanky right-hander was placed on the Braves' 40-man roster, which is rare for a six-year free agent. He was immediately considered as a longshot candidate to be in Atlanta's bullpen, and some even wondered if he could win the closer's job.
But Baker had a horrible spring training in big league camp, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in 5.1 innings pitched. He was then sent down to minor league camp and eventually taken off the 40-man roster.
Baker was scheduled to start the season in Triple-A, but a numbers problem caused him to start in AA Mississippi. He pitched in two games with the M-Braves and did not allow an earned run. Then Baker was promoted to Richmond, where he was putting together a solid season. Baker had pitched in nine games with a 1-0 record and a 2.40 ERA. He had allowed 14 hits in 15 innings, five runs, four earned runs, only four walks, and 17 strikeouts.
Nunez was acquired from the Red Sox at the end of spring training for a player to be named later. He is 1-3 so far for Richmond with a 5.48 ERA in 11 games. Nunez has allowed 21 hits in 21.1 innings, 13 runs, 11 walks, and 13 strikeouts.
The Richmond bullpen has been helped recently by the additions of Tyler Yates and Wayne Franklin.
The Red Sox had drafted Baker, a Massachusetts resident, in the supplemental first round of the 1999 draft. He was traded to the Padres' organization in June of 2002.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at email@example.com.
Braves trade Brad Baker to Red Sox
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