The Chicago Cubs finally found their back-up to starting catcher Geovany Soto. Paul Bako, who played for the Cubs during the 2003 and 2004 MLB season, will return to the north side of Chicago and make his presence known in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field for a 2nd go-round. Bako signed a one-year deal that will pay him approximately $500,000. At the age of 36, Bako is more a defensive-minded catcher with a career fielding percentage of .990. The left-handed hitter hit only .217 for the Reds in 99 games during the 2008 MLB season.
Rich Hill, the frustrating 29-year old left-handed starter, may also be dealt soon. After a successful 2007 MLB season which saw him rack up 11 wins and a respectable 3.92 ERA in 32 starts, the wheels came off in 2008. Hill only started 5 games in 2008, walking 18 batters in 19 2/3 innings and was demoted to the minor leagues with a poor 4.12 ERA. After battling some back issues, Hill made 13 starts for the Cubs rookie-league team in Arizona, but was largely ineffective – 44 walks in 47 2/3 innings with a 5.85 ERA. Hill is now out of options and is not likely to make the Cubs roster coming out of spring training, so they will need to find something to do with him. The Orioles have expressed some interest in Hill, so there could be a deal on the horizon that will send Hill to the Orioles in the upcoming weeks.