Orioles Nearing Deal With Ubaldo Jimenez

The Orioles are working to finalize a deal with free agent starter Ubaldo Jimenez, reports MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. The contract under consideration is believed to be for four years and $48MM.

Jimenez, 30, is one of the premier remaining available free agents. He checked in at 11th on the top fifty free agent list of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. 

If he does land at the four-year, $48MM level, it would represent a nice payday at this late stage of the market. As MLBTR's Steve Adams argued in his breakdown of Jimenez's free agent case, the big righty looked good for a three-year, $39MM deal but could plausibly command another guaranteed year that would bring him into the range of Edwin Jackson's four-year, $52MM contract. In Adams' analysis, in spite of his up-and-down recent track record, Jimenez carries the upside of a top-of-the-rotation starter but also has proven a durable innings-eater. 

For the Orioles, the addition of Jimenez would represent a massive shift in the off-season's complexion. Recent signee Suk-min Yoon and reliever Ryan Webb are the only players that the O's have inked to multi-year deals thus far, and both players received guarantees of less than $6MM.

Baltimore has been tied to numberous players to date, and nearly landed reliever Grant Balfour on a two-year, $15MM pact, but has yet to pull the trigger on a major acquisition. Jimenez certainly would represent that, and would be expected to constitute a major upgrade to a rotation that current sports several question marks. According to Kubatko, the Orioles have also participated in recent talks with fellow free agent starter Ervin Santana

If Jimenez does indeed sign with the Orioles, his new employer would be required to sacrifice the 17th overall choice in the 2014 amateur draft. Meanwhile, the Indians — Jimenez's former club — would add a sandwich-round compensation pick.


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