Long-time Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Houston Asterisks. Per the LA Times Jorge Castillo and ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Houston will pay Baez between $12-14M for the next two seasons with a $7.5M club option for the third year.
Báez contract details:
–$500k signing bonus
–2021: $4.5 mil salary
–2022: $5.5 mil base salary that can reach $6.5 mil if he hits all IP escalators
–2023: $7.5 mil club option w/a $2 million buyout ($8 mil option and $2.5 mil buyout if he logs 100 IP between 2021 and 2022)
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) January 14, 2021
The deal signals the end of Baez’s tumultuous seven-year career with the Dodgers. True blue fans argue about many things, and La Mula was right near the top.
2018 Regular Season and Playoffs
Baez had a solid 2017 regular season (2.95 ERA in 64 IP), but melted down that September (10.38 ERA). Baez retooled his pitch sequencing for 2018. That year, he threw fewer fastballs than ever while effectively mixing in his slider and changeup.
- 2014: 81.0%
- 2015: 74.0%
- 2016: 74.8%
- 2017: 72.7%
- 2018: 62.2%
- 2019: 50.9%
- 2020: 42.2%
Petey finished the 2018 regular season with a 2.88 ERA and the lowest average exit velocity of his career (84 MPH). He also posted his lowest HR/9 rate (0.64)
That postseason, he appeared in 10 games, recorded a 1.59 ERA, and struck out 14 in just 11.1 IP.
2016 NLDS Game 1 vs Washington Nationals
With the Dodgers clinging to a 4-3 lead in Game 1, Baez provided the crucial bridge to Kenley Jansen. He induced an Anthony Rendon pop-up to finish the seventh and record the first out of the eight against Ryan Zimmerman. Jansen record a five out save (every Dodger fan’s favorite!) to seal the Game 1 win for the Dodgers.
Baez finished the 2016 NLDS with a 0.54 WHIP and didn’t allow a hit in 3.2 IP. The rest of the 2016 playoffs did not go so well for Petey.
2016 NLCS Game 5 vs Chicago Cubs
With the series tied 2-2 and LA down 3-1, Roberts inserted Baez to pitch to the bottom third of the Cubs order in the top of eighth. Addison Russell reached on a Baez error, Willson Contreras singled, and Albert Almora sacrifice bunted.
Runners on second and third.
The lineup turned over.
Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant both singled. In the blink of an eye, it was 5-1. Roberts, with the game out of hand, brought in Ross Stripling to put out the fire. Stripling gave up a double to Javier Baez – three Cubs scored.
The scorebook reads just one earned run for Baez, but it’s safe to say he deserved all five. The Dodgers would go on to lose the game and the series to the Cubs.
2015 NLDS Game 3 vs New York Mets
Granted, the Dodgers were down 10-4 when Pedro came in to start the seventh inning, but it was still rough. He failed to record a single out! A single to Travis d’Arnaud followed by back-to-back walks.
Pedro got yanked for J.P. Howell and was charged for all three runs scored that inning. The Mets won the game 13-4 and subsequently, the series.
Even after winning winning a championship, this writer is still ashamed that the Dodgers lost to freakin’ Mets in the playoffs.
2014 NLDS Game 1 vs St. Louis Cardinals
This game marked the beginning of both playoff reputations for Pedro Baez and Clayton Kershaw.
LA was up 6-2 at home entering the seventh. Don Mattingly and 54,265 Dodger fans watched the Cardinals record six hits(!) against Kershaw. The score sat at 7-6 in favor of the Cardinals when Baez finally relieved Kershaw. La Mula gave up a three run jack to Matt Holiday to give the Cards a 10-6 lead. They went on to win Game 1 10-9.
The horror! The horror!
Pedro Baez’s departure to Houston signals the end of a polarizing Dodgers career. His playoff shortcoming colorfully illustrated Roberts’ tendency to over-utilize “preferred” relievers and ignore past performance.
Every fanbase bemoans a controversial reliever who has faltered in the playoffs. Pedro Baez, correction, World Series champion Pedro Baez, is forever etched in Dodger fandom lore.
For better or worse.