FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins pitcher Scott Baker doesn't get flustered by very much when he's on the mound.

But Baker admitted that he thought about asking pitching coach Rick Anderson on Saturday for a "mulligan," to move his start to another day.

On Friday night, Baker and the Twins verbally agreed to a four-year, $15.25 million contract that includes a fifth year, $9.25 million club option for 2013. But with Baker starting Saturday's Grapefruit League game, the deal wasn't going to be announced until after the pitcher exited the mound.

With that news on his mind, the right-hander acknowledged it wasn't quite a typical Spring Training outing.

"My head wasn't quite where it needed to be," Baker said. "But it was OK. I was just trying to make good pitches and I think I did that today."

Baker seemed to make it through his start just fine considering the circumstances. He pitched four innings against the Pirates, giving up one run on six hits.

And after the start, it seemed impossible for Baker not to smile when the first question posed to him was about his new contract.

"It was kind of a no-brainer," Baker said of the deal. "This is obviously a place that I enjoy being. My family loves Minneapolis. If you can't play for [manager Ron Gardenhire], then something is wrong with you. And I work well with [Anderson]. I like what's going on here and this is where we want to be."

"It gives us some security and it gives them some certainty of payroll. I think, overall, everybody is very happy."

For Minnesota, the contract locked up the pitcher now considered its ace.

Baker, 27, was 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in a career-high 28 starts for the Twins last season. He was the oldest starter in a very talented young rotation and took over the role as the leader of the group. Minnesota rewarded Baker this winter by naming him the Opening Day starter.

Now the club has rewarded him in another way.

Baker's new contract will pay him $750,000 in 2009, $3 million in '10, $5 million in '11 and $6.5 million in '12.

The right-hander was scheduled to be arbitration-eligible after the '09 season, so the contract buys out his three arbitration years. And should the Twins choose to pick up the option, it would also cover Baker's first year of free agency.

"We have a big group that's going to be due [for arbitration] next year," Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "And we started to look and see if there was somebody that stood out as a guy that warranted a multiyear deal. Across the board, he was the one."

Drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Baker has been one of the most consistent starters for the ballclub over the last two years. The right-hander has gone 20-13 with a 3.81 ERA while throwing a total of 316 innings.

Baker holds a career 28-24 record with a 4.23 ERA in 78 appearances for the Twins.

"He's come into his own here, and he's become a very good pitcher," Gardenhire said. "One of our starting pitchers is now locked up, and rightfully so."

Baker's agent, Bobby Witt, and Twins assistant GM Rob Antony began negotiating the contract just a couple weeks ago, and the deal came together quickly.

The Twins have given out a few multiyear contracts to players in recent years, but the majority of those have gone to position players.

"For them to do this is definitely a big vote of confidence for me," Baker said. "It's just something they haven't done much in the past."

Smith acknowledged that four years is a long contract for a pitcher, considering all of the risks involved, particularly health. But the club felt if anyone was fit for such a deal, it was Baker.

"He has made very good progress the last few years," Smith said. "And you know he takes care of his body. He's a good teammate. He's good on the field, good off the field. He's a little bit of a leader among that starting rotation."

Baker already is considered one of the hardest workers on the ballclub. He said that work ethic isn't going to let up now that he's got a long-term contract in place. Instead, he believes it can only be a positive -- much like Jason Kubel's recent multiyear deal has had an impact on him this spring.

"It's not necessarily what drives me, the big contract," Baker said. "But it does make it a lot easier to go out there and perform."

With the contract, Baker gets the security he desired. But considering the record contract numbers being awarded through arbitration in recent seasons, is he worried about the money he might be leaving on the table should he have a huge season?

"I don't think in any way I'll regret this decision," Baker said. "If I have great seasons or average seasons, I'm very happy with the decision."

Even with Baker signed, the Twins still could have nine arbitration-eligible players this winter: Boof Bonser, Jesse Crain, Carlos Gomez, Matt Guerrier, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins and Delmon Young.

Smith was asked whether the club might consider working on multiyear deals for any of those players.

"We'll move forward with the rest of the group at the appropriate time," Smith said. "But again, there are a lot of factors that go into it. You have to make sure you have the right player -- from an evaluation standpoint and from a maturity standpoint. There are a lot of other factors.

"We haven't been afraid to do it in the past. We've done a number of them. We're open to talking to some other players about that."