When the Marlins released Jeff Baker, it appeared the move was made because Baker was on the disabled list and would not be able to return until September with his contract ending at the end of the season. But the injury was not the only factor Miami considered.
Baker was known to be a respected veteran pinch-hitter, but according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Baker was released because he most notably was "spreading negativity in the clubhouse" and was a "bad influence on a couple of young players."
We hear one reason the Marlins released Jeff Baker was because they felt he was spreading negativity in the clubhouse, was a bad influence on a couple of young players and was conveying an anti-front office message. Baker was well liked by teammates and the media, however.
Before the start of last season, the Marlins signed Baker to a two-year contract. He thrived throughout 2014, batting .264/.307/.394 to complement three home runs and 28 RBIs over 90 games. Baker has also proven to be a valuable bat against left-handed pitching and received numerous pinch hitting appearances late in games.
Although he had a fair amount of success last season, Baker struggled before getting injured in 2015. Over 41 games, he posted a .208/.288/.375 batting line in addition to three home runs and eight RBIs. Baker was placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain on July 8 and would not see playing time again before being released.
When he was released, Baker told FOX Sports' Christina De Nicola he did not want to get into the business side of things. Baker might have been among the Marlins bothered by Dan Jennings' shift from the front office into the dugout and the fact the Marlins released him while he was on the disabled list suggests the club must have been notably disturbed.
Baker, 34, will likely draw interest from teams seeking infield depth this winter. The Marlins' decision and rationale could make him less attractive but it likely is hard to overlook Baker's production throughout the course of his major league career.