The Twins today notified starting pitcher Scott Baker that they will not be picking up his $9.25 million option for 2013, allowing him to become a free agent, a person familiar with the discussions said.
Update: The Twins just made this official with an announcement.
The decision was not a surprise, but there was some thought that the sides might work out an incentive-laden deal before Baker hit the free agent market. Beginning Friday night at 11 p.m., Central, Baker will be free to sign with another team.
Baker, 31, missed last season while recovering from Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow. He is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA in seven years with the Twins. He signed a four-year, $15.25 million deal with the Twins before the 2009 season, which included the 2013 option and no buyout.
In 2011, he appeared to turn a corner and ranked among the best pitchers in the American League at 8-6 with a 2.86 ERA through the end of July, before coming down with arm trouble.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has said the Twins would like to re-sign Baker, as the team is looking to fill fourth fifths of its starting rotation, with Scott Diamond the only lock moving forward. But now Baker will be thrown into the pile along with all the other free agents, including Carl Pavano.