Though it's been a somewhat quiet offseason on the Ubaldo Jimenez front thus far, the lack of chatter doesn't mean his asking price is going down. The right-hander's agents are still telling teams that they seek an annual salary north of $14MM on a multiyear deal for their client, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Jimenez, represented by Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX), has seen his market slowed by the uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka. To this point in the offseason, no pitcher has secured a $14MM annual salary on a multiyear deal, though that again is likely due to the Tanaka market. Tanaka himself should clear that mark with ease, and Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana also figure to top that mark with their eventual deals.
Because Jimenez rejected a qualifying offer, any team other than the Indians will be required to forfeit a top draft pick in order to sign him. Though he comes with a spotty track record in recent years, Jimenez is relatively young for a free agent (he turns 30 this month), and it's hard to argue with the performance he turned in this season. Many are quick to glance at Jimenez's splits and state that he had a dominant second half. While that's true -- he had a 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break -- Jimenez's rebound began much earlier than that. After allowing 19 earned runs in his first 17 innings, Jimenez pitched to a 2.61 ERA with a 179-to-69 K/BB ratio from April 29 through season's end -- a span of 28 starts.
Though the Indians would like Jimenez back, he's likely to be too pricey for their tastes. Jimenez was recently connected to the Blue Jays and could draw interest from clubs such as the Yankees and Diamondbacks as well. The Orioles were at one time linked to Jimenez, but they, like the Indians, seem unable to afford him.