Reports: Orioles land Ubaldo Jimenez


The Orioles have finally made a move to improve their team. According to multiple reports, Baltimore has signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a fiour-year contract worth approximately $50M. They’ll also have to forfeit the 17th overall pick. The Yankees were never connected to Jimenez but he was often mentioned as a potential fifth starter candidate should be remain unsigned for another few weeks and his asking price drop even more. That was always a long shot though.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Theonewhoknocks says:

    I liked him at that price.
    His velocity was bouncing back, he made some adjustments last year that seemed to be paying off and he probably was the highest upside FA in all the market.

    I’m happy with Tanaka, but I think had we used the Tanaka money and gotten Ubaldo, Drew and Balfour instead that would have been a perfectly acceptable fallback plan

    • sas says:

      Not sure how a guy with a bad ankle, a guy with a bad knee and wrist, and a pitcher who keeps dropping velocity would be an acceptable backup plan.

      Give me the healthy 25 year old with far greater upside.

      • Chris H says:

        Far greater upside? I mean I know the great unknown with Tanaka fuels a ton of hyperbole but it’s not outlandish to say Tanaka might never have an 84 inning stretch like Jimenez had to end 2013. That is essentially Jimenez’s upside, a pitcher who can strap an entire pitching staff on his back for an entire half of the season. He doesn’t do it all the time but very few players ever reach their biggest upside all the time.

        I might bet on Tanaka being the better pitcher over the next four years but I have a hard time saying he has a vastly greater upside than someone who has dominated MLB hitters for multiple sustained periods of time.

        I’d also say that health in pitchers is always relative and Tanaka has had shoulder fatigue/pain in two separate seasons bad enough to cause him to be taken off the active roster. Now both of these came some time ago (2008 and 2009) and I don’t think his arm is likely to fall off tomorrow but any pitcher with a history of shoulder problems can easily see that reoccur.

        • nycsportzfan says:

          Good post. I love having Tanaka, but at the price we paid, I think it would of been more the suitable plan B to go with Jiminez, Drew, and Balfour. I’m not even a huge Drew fan, but the combo of all 3 for the same price as Tanaka is intriguing. Tanaka cost about 20million more then I expected.

        • Mr. Roth says:

          “…it’s not outlandish to say Tanaka might never have an 84 inning stretch like Jimenez had to end 2013.”

          It’s not outlandish to say that Ubaldo may never have an 84 inning stretch like he had last year, either. Ubaldo is 1/2 a season removed from 2 1/2 seasons of being below replacement level. That type of inconsistency doesn’t play well for the Yankees.

        • Vincent Vega says:

          Ubaldo has lost velocity every single year he’s been in the majors. He may not last the four years of that contract. Tanaka has far greater upside and can be complimented by other players at a later date. That way we can get a SS that’s much better than Drew. Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen. I’d rather have Tanaka and the option to add better talent later on.

        • Rick says:

          What’s it like to be Ubaldo’s agent? I always wanted to be one growing up, is it as cool as it seems?

          Clearly the only person who can be as high on Ubaldo as you are must be financially connected to him.

    • KyleLitke says:

      The problem though is that presumes the Yankees would have wanted to sign all of them with that money. In theory they really should have more money to spend (since they’re over 189 and all), but they didn’t bother getting involved on Drew at least, who they could use for a number of reasons. I could have seen them signing Ubaldo if they missed out on Tanaka, although some reports said they weren’t interested regardless of what happened with Tanaka. And it’s possible they couldn’t have even gotten Balfour if he wants to close. They could have made Robertson the setup man again and Balfour the closer, but that probably would prevent them from bringing back Robertson after this season if they want to (since he can surely get a closers job somewhere and Balfour would have to be signed to a multi year contract to get him). I wanted Balfour, but I’m not sure they could have gotten a deal done without drastically overpaying him to come be a setup man instead of a closer.

    • qwerty says:

      His velocity has never bounced back. He’s lost 4 mph on his fastball over the years. The only reason why he was effective last year was because his slider was particularly good.

  2. nsalem says:

    Well it will be ineteresting to seem him on a regular basis the next 4 years. He was great down the stretch last year but level of competition he faced was very suspect. I glanced at his September a couple of weeks ago and the only qualifying hitters he faced with over a 100 OPS + was Chris Carter and Adam Dunn.

    • KyleLitke says:

      ERA wise, he was actually good for most of last year, with a couple bad starts really screwing it up early. His biggest problem most of last year was he wasn’t going deep into games at all. He had a ton of 5-6 inning starts. And, like you said, when he finally started going deeper into games, the level of competition was suspect.

  3. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Not much to see there. Wouldn’t have signed him to that deal to nail down the fifth starter’s spot.

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      Quite valid point… $12M, while being a bargain for an Ubaldo at his best (which is not a given, mind you), is a shit ton of money for your #4/5 starter.

      • RetroRob says:

        Agreed, I think. I say I think because I’m really not sure what the price of a #4 starter is with the current market inflation. He also offers great upside, although his mechanics are enough of a mess that can’t be sure if he’ll ever figure them out.

    • KyleLitke says:

      Agreed. The only real reason to even consider it at that price is the likelihood that Kuroda is retired or in Japan after this season, and the free agent starters for next season are rapidly disappearing. Although even then, if Tanaka works out and Pineda can bounce back to be at least a middle of the rotation guy, you still don’t need a front of the rotation guy.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        The hope is that Tanaka and Nova rise up and can line up 2-3 behind CC next year. It’d be wonderful to have Pineda behind them.

        I don’t remember who the 1A/second tier FA starters are next season. Certainly the crème of the crop are getting locked up by their teams, and rightfully so.

        • KyleLitke says:

          I believe the only starters really worth mentioning for next year were Kershaw, Scherzer, Bailey, Lester, Masterson, and Shields. Kershaw is already signed of course, and Bailey looks like he’s right behind. I’d be surprised if the Tigers don’t bring back Scherzer after freeing up all that money by trading Prince, and I’d guess the Red Sox would bring back Lester when he’s openly offered to take less money to return, unless he has a bad year. Which leaves Masterson (who I’m not a huge fan of, personally, although I love the lack of home runs) and Shields, unless they also get extended.

          But if Nova can essentially do what he did last year, Tanaka can be a solid #2, and Pineda can at least be a solid #4 type starter, they can work with that of course.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            Billingsley, Chen, Cueto, and Gallardo all have club options that may, or may not, get picked up. Peavy stood out to me the most as a veteran pickup. There’s others.

            Not a glamorous market, other than the big names, but a deeper one than this season’s.

            Hopefully, if Kuroda’s done after this season, everyone else takes a step up in the rotation, Pineda emerges, and Banuelos fulfills his promise. Best laid plans, though.

            • Chris H says:

              I’d take Jimenez over everyone of those names without question except maybe Cueto, who’s lack of ability to stay on the diamond worries me and who’s 10M dollar option should be a guarantee to be picked up unless he permanently breaks.

            • The Great Gonzo says:

              I am into the idea of Cueto or Masterson, but those guys are going to be Tier 2 pitchers that are going to get paid like Tier 1 pitchers. Billingsly scares me, and Chen is a disaster waiting to happen.

          • Banny Manuelos says:

            Don’t forget about me!!

        • Kiko Jones says:

          The hope is that Tanaka and Nova rise up and can line up 2-3 behind CC next year. It’d be wonderful to have Pineda behind them.

          That would be pure awesomeness.

    • Farewell Mo says:

      You wouldn’t be signing him to that contract to be 5th starter though. It probably would have been a decision for #3 starter between Jimenez at 4/$50 vs Kuroda at 1/$15.

      With some good FA starters potentially hitting the market next year plus internal options like Pineda and ManBan, I’ prefer Kuroda for 1 year over Jimenez who was kind of putrid the prior 300 innings or so before last seasons good 2nd half.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        I’d take Kuroda for a year and take my chances in 2015. #HIROK.

        • Chris H says:

          I’d rather have Kuroda and Jimenez and not worry about the 2015 class, not sure why it would have to be Kuroda or Jimenez.

      • KyleLitke says:

        I’m not sure I’d be counting on those guys hitting the FA market though. Kershaw’s already off and it looks like Bailey is following soon. If the Tigers extend or resign Scherzer, then it’s pretty much Shields or bust.

        I do still agree with you, for what it’s worth. I’ll take Kuroda on a one year over Ubaldo for four. But I’m not counting on next years pitching market, as it’s rapidly disappearing.

        • Chris H says:

          I have to agree with you on the 2015 crop, it’s looking more and more likely the best two starters in that market are a 33 year old Shields and Masterson who still sports pretty large L/R and H/R splits.

        • Farewell Mo says:

          I think Shields may hit the market since I find it unlikely he’ll resign with KC though I agree most of the top guys will be extended before they hit the market.

          Jimenez is a risky on a 4 year deal though if the Yankees had lost out on Tanaka, he would have made sense.

        • RetroRob says:

          I’m a bit surprised at Bailey. I didn’t think the Reds would come up with the money, but the new TV contracts have changed that.

          Never expected Kershaw to hit the market. I’d be very surprised if Scherzer does not file. He’s a Boras client one year away from free agency in a market filled with cash and not great supply. Boras loves that type of situation. I expect Shields to file, too.

          The Yankees best hope right now is Tanaka is what they expect, Pineda makes it back, Banuelos is in the rotation next year, and Nova continues his progression. That would be five young pitchers in their rotation allowing them to focus on position players.

    • Chris H says:

      This is a misnomer though isn’t it? Ubaldo wouldn’t be the 5th starter, Nova would be in that scenario. In fact I could easily see Ubaldo starting the season as high as the number 3 starter in order to take pressure, and more easily allow monitoring of innings early on, of Tanaka. So at worst you’d be paying 4/50 for Ubaldo to nail down the 4 spot, and if he turned into a season ERA like last year he’d probably be the best 4th starter in baseball. Not to mention the added benefit of moving Phelps, Warren, and maybe even Nuno into the pen improving that weakness as well. Simply labeling him as a 4/50 5th starter just seems to vastly understate what the Yankees would have acquired with this signing.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        The number in the pitching order isn’t really what’s important here to me.

        • Chris H says:

          Then what’s the point of making a comment about Ubaldo only being someone who locks down the 5 spot? If pitching order isn’t important than having 5 top notch starting pitchers should be an idea that appeals to you, especially since a deep rotation would take pressure off the pen (which would be deeper thanks to the sign) and give you a real advantage over the course of 162 games. It might even be the difference in WC and division or WC and sitting home.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            I’m rather confident the Yanks will be able to resolve this in-house. I’m also not quite sold on Ubaldo’s resurgence. That combination of things makes it so that I was pretty indifferent about signing him.

            • Chris H says:

              I don’t doubt they can piece together a 5th starter, it’s one of the least productive positions in baseball year to year I would think. However as I said signing Ubaldo is more than just signing some 5th starter, you’d be signing a 3 starter with 1 upside, while strengthening the bullpen, and giving yourself more leeway with developing and monitoring Pineda. Personally I’d rather see Pineda start the first month or so in the minors, it’d probably be best for his development and health long term.

              • Farewell Mo says:

                There’s no doubt a case can be made about the benefits of signing Jimenez and pushing both Phelps and Warren into the pen and Kuroda to the 5th slot where his innings can be more easily limited.

                At 4/$50 million, while it seems reasonable, it’s not exactly a no brainer signing.

  4. Dalek Jeter says:


    /sarcasm please, under no circumstances sign Ervin Santana to a contract. Unless he’s going to be a setup man. Even then, not a fan.

  5. Macho Man "Randy Levine" says:

    Cashman phailed.

    /mix meme’d

  6. Preston says:

    It’s skewed by the fact that he’s spent a lot of his short career in the bullpen, but it’s interesting to note that David Phelps has a higher career K/9 and a lower career BB/9 than Ubaldo Jimenez.

  7. willie w says:

    until contracts like this are tied to performance I have no respect for the system.

  8. vicki says:

    who are you, and what have you done with the real peter angelos?

  9. Kevin says:

    If we want to even pretend to develop minor league talent, we need to leave a spot in the rotation for them to go to once they develop. I do remember Warren saying that after Phelps got called up and did so well in 2012 (I remember people on these boards making him out to be a mecha-messiah Roy Halladay), all the triple A pitchers were saying to eachother “Hey, maybe we CAN make it to the Bronx, and not just wait to get traded.” The kids in Scranton and Trenton need something to play for.

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      Devil’s Advocate here- So what you’re saying is we _shouldn’t_ try and put the best possible team out there so that there is a open slot for the kids to play for? But… what if all the kids suck? Phelps did a nice job last season for us, but are you willing to sacrifice that pitching every 5th day on the chance that Nuno/Pineda/Warren/Banuelos are able to step into that role today?

      That’s VERY Minnesota of you.

      (Disclaimer: I had no real interest in Jiminez once Tanaka signed, but I coulda been talked into him at something like 2/24 or 3/30…)

    • Derek Jeter says:

      I agree with Kevin.. The 5th spot in the rotation should be there to develop..Phelps, Nuno, Pineda. If the Yankees traded away, at the time, their best prospect in Montero, for a guy to sit in minors and not give him a shot, why have a farm team at all. Plus just throwing money at a expensive 5th starter does not make sense when that money should be used to upgrade the infield. Any team can find a 5th starter…. Christ, even Phelp’s can be a .500 pitcher.. Do you expect much more form Ubaldo in the AL East?

  10. Rick says:

    Keith Law said it best, Jimenez has had 2 good half seasons in his career. He probably got paid about what he should’ve got paid given the going rate for pitchers, but he’s not a player I guarantee 4 years worth of salary too. There’s a reason he sat on the market this long, and that’s quite honestly because he’s not really that good.

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