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01/30/09 2:43 PM EST
Cubs ink Bako, could deal Hill
Veteran catcher will serve as backup to All-Star Soto
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
The Cubs finalized one long-discussed deal on Friday and reportedly were talking with an old friend about another. First, the done deal. The Cubs finalized a one-year contract with veteran backup catcher Paul Bako, who previously played for the team in 2003-2004. Bako will get a salary in the neighborhood of $500,000, according to multiple reports over the past few weeks, to serve as the backup to reigning National League Rookie of the year Geovany Soto. Bako, 36, a defensive-minded catcher, hit .217 in 99 games for the Reds last season and bats left-handed. Soto is a right-handed hitter. Bako has thrown out 28.2 percent of attempted basestealers in his career, including a 26.7-percent success rate last season with the Reds, and he has a .990 career fielding percentage behind the plate. Another move was reportedly in the works. The Baltimore Sun reported on Thursday that the Cubs and Orioles were discussing a trade that would send left-hander Rich Hill to Baltimore, likely for a player to be named later based on Hill's 2009 success. "We are talking to them," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail -- who previously held a similar job title in Chicago -- told the newspaper. "We are talking to a lot of teams about a lot of players." The newspaper's report said the Cubs were talking to other clubs about Hill, including the Mariners, but speculated that the Orioles were the frontrunners.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.