Orioles Sign Ubaldo Jimenez

FRIDAY: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets the year-to-year breakdown of Jimenez's deal: he will earn $11.25MM in 2014, $12.25MM in 2015, $13MM in 2016 and $13.5MM in 2017. Each year of the contract contains $2.25MM in deferred salary without interest. Sherman also reports that Jimenez's pact contains $3.2MM worth of incentives, as he can earn $400K each season for starting 32 games and also for pitching 200 innings (Twitter links).

WEDNESDAY: The Orioles have officially announced the signing of Jimenez.

MONDAY: Looking to add talent at the top of their rotation, the Orioles have agreed to sign free agent starter Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50MM deal, pending a physical. Some of those dollars will be deferred, but Jimenez nevertheless becomes Baltimore's most notable free agent addition in recent memory.

Jimenez

The 30-year-old Jimenez, a client of Relativity Baseball, brings substantial upside along with a somewhat rocky history of production. As MLBTR's Steve Adams detailed in his profile of Jimenez before the start of the off-season, the durable righty has at times been amongst the most valuable starters in the game.

Earlier in his career, Jimenez was one of few pitchers to turn in dominant campaigns while throwing half of his starts in Coors Field, putting up 3.47 and 2.88 ERA seasons for the Rockies in 2009-10. Jimenez struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings last year, the best mark of his career, while tossing 182 2/3 innings of 3.30 ball in his last campaign with the Indians.

Just one year prior, however, Jimenez netted just a 5.40 ERA for Cleveland. He has never managed to limit walks, allowing 4.1 free passes per nine over his career. And Jimenez's stellar early-career ground-ball induction skills have waned of late. Last year, he checked in with a 43.5% ground ball rate, which fell below league average.

To some extent, Jimenez's 2013 season encapsulates his career: at times frustrating, at times immaculate. He sported a 4.56 ERA in the first half of the year, only to turn it on with a sparkling 1.82 mark over the back end. Regardless of performance, Jimenez comes with a strong record of injury-free innings, having notched at least 31 starts and 176 2/3 innings in each of the last six seasons. And though he no longer brings upper-90s heat, Jimenez has been equally successful against batters of both sides, allowing a career .689 OPS to righties and .709 mark to lefties. 

For Baltimore, Jimenez represents the second addition to a rotation corps that contained several question marks. The former Indian will slot into of a rotation that projects to include Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez. The team also recently inked Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon to a three-year, $5.75MM deal that would escalate significantly in value if he serves as a starter. He could battle with Bud Norris and a host of others for the fifth slot. 

Jimenez represents the largest commitment by the O's to date in the 2013-14 free agent period. And for a club that has never promised a free agent starter more than three years, Jimenez perhaps becomes the team's most significant-ever free agent pitching acquisition. Indeed, his $50MM promise lands amongst the highest free agent contracts ever handed out by the club, which previously promised Miguel Tejada $72MM and Albert Belle $65MM on the open market, and the most substantial of recent years. (The club has promised big dollars through extensions to outfielders Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.)

Because Jimenez turned down a qualifying offer, the Orioles will part with their first-round choice (17th overall) in the upcoming 2014 amateur draft in order to add him to their roster. Meanwhile, the Indians officially pick up a compensation pick in the sandwich round as compensation.

Adams had predicted a three-year deal for Jimenez before the season, noting that a fourth year was possible. Promising an additional year became necessary, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, due to interest from multiple other AL East clubs, including the Blue Jays. The Red Sox also had interest, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter). Though neither of those clubs made offers, according to Olney, it appears that their presence in talks contributed to the final price tag.

With Jimenez off of the market, only one free agent pitcher (Ervin Santana) remains among the top fifty free agents (per MLBTR's Tim Dierkes). Among the teams still potentially interested in a starter, most have been linked to Jimenez and Santana, leaving the latter to satisfy any desire for a top-tier option. The Blue Jays and Mariners have, perhaps, been the most heavily rumored clubs to be dabbling in this portion of the market, though numerous others are said to have some level of interest.

With his four-year, $50MM deal, Jimenez joins several other arms to score deals of like magnitude. As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, Matt Garza (four years, $50MM) and Ricky Nolasco (four years, $49MM) both landed at that level this year, while Edwin Jackson (four years, $52MM) did the same one year ago. It would seem fair to characterize all of these starters as having their share of benefits and drawbacks, though it could be that Jimenez offers the greatest upside of any.

MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko first reported that the sides were nearing agreement on a four-year deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement (via Twitter). The total money and deferred payment were first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). 

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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59 Comments on "Orioles Sign Ubaldo Jimenez"


NimbusStev
1 year 6 months ago

Ya know I thought about it, and you might actually have a point. Over the offseason the Yankees (a 4th place team last season btw) essentially traded Cano, Granderson, Pettite, and Rivera for Beltran, Ellsbury, and Tanaka.

Even with Granderson’s lackluster season, he and Cano combined for 7.6 oWAR in 2013. Ellsbury and Beltran combined for 7.4, so the offense really doesn’t change much. Tanaka might end up being amazing, but he has to replace Pettitte who never had a losing season in his career! And it doesn’t matter who the Yankees choose as their new closer, he’s not going to live up to Rivera’s legacy.

So really, a 4th or 5th place finish is actually a pretty realistic prediction. Granted, even in 4th last season they were still over .500. But they’re going to have to fight pretty hard to topple some of the other giants in the AL East this year!

TheRealRyan
1 year 6 months ago

The Yankees also added McCann and full seasons of Jeter and Tex. While those last two aren’t the players they used to be, the worst seasons of their careers would still be worth 5 WAR.

0vercast
1 year 6 months ago

How can you say they’re getting full seasons of Jeter and Tex? The likelihood of those guys getting injured will only increase with age.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

Yankees may not have gotten any better at all. Look how “lucky” they were in 1 run games last year and they lost Cano, Granderson, Rodriguez and Rivera.

MMMMM
1 year 6 months ago

But gained Teixeria, Jeter, Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran, Soriano (full season), Tanaka, Pineda, Banuelos..and a bunch of other high ceiling bullpen arms. Pretty sure most Yankee fans are ok with “losing” Cano and Granderson in comparison.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

Pineda hasn’t pitched in 2 years, Jeter is 40, Texiera is coming off a major in jury that has ended others careers, Beltran has been on the DL in half of his seasons, Ellsbury has missed 2 out of the last 4 years and was injured again last year, Tanaka is unproven. Banuelos has been a bust so far. Pretty sure they improved but not by a massive amount. Probably a 85-90 win team this year. So a playoff contender but not a certain playoff team.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 6 months ago

Pineda hasn’t pitched in 2 years and is still impressing reporters in ST his velocity is up and he should be a quality starter this season. Jeter is 39, and he isn’t going to be an everyday player. Tex is coming back from a surgery that other players have had (Bautista, Ortiz) and they have proven they can still be productive after having it. He is progressing nicely and hasn’t had any setbacks thus far. Ellsbury was extremely productive in the postseason/regular season and proved he could play at least over 130 games. His major injuries were freak accidents that could have happened to anyone. Its not as if he is dealing with any lingering issues. We also have Soriano and Ichiro who are the 4th and 5th outfielders. Tanaka is unproven but has practiced with the MLB baseball since 2012. People that watched his bullpens said the ball came out of his hand nicely. Banuelos isn’t expected to be a 5th starter and won’t be even considered until next season he has absolutely no impact on the team whatsoever. The other pitching options are Nuno, Warren, Phelps, and maybe even Turley later in the year.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

The issue coming back from Tommy John isn’t velocity it is more commonly control as with Tommy John often people throw harder afterwards so velocity isn’t the issue. Jeter is closer to 40 than 39 since his birthday is in June and him not being an everyday player is probably news to him and if the case that means some scrub will be playing SS in his place. Bautista’s OPS+ dropped 50 points since his wrist injury so taking 50 off Texiera’s OPS+ would put him at about 70. Irabu and Igawa impressed reporters too and how did that work out for the Yankees and they had touched MLB baseballs before as well? If Banuelos isn’t going to have any impact until next season as you concede how does he help your point for this season? Ellsbury runs in to things to cause his injuries so maybe he needs glasses. He plays reckless like Matt Kemp so he is always an injury risk.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 6 months ago

“Banuelos has been a bust so far.” I never said he would help us this season. Banuelos isn’t even expected to have a role for the 2014 Yankees so I don’t see why you brought him up. The Yankees can afford to have a “scrub” like Brendan Ryan in the lineup every now and then since it is so deep. How do you know exactly how far Tex’s OPS+ will drop, or if it will even change for that matter? I also mentioned David Ortiz and he is still playing like it never happened. Irabu and Igawa weren’t scouted as frequently and by as many teams as Tanaka was, nor do they have even have similar repetoire’s as him. There have been many successful pitchers from Japan: Darvish, Iwakuma, Kuroda, Uehara I don’t see why you chose to only mention the ones who haven’t had success. “Ellsbury runs in to things to cause his injuries so maybe he needs glasses.” You are saying this as if Ellsbury is purposely running into people in order to cause injury. If so, you should look at video of the injuries he’s had because there is no way he can purposely injure himself like that. To say he needs glasses is silly. Any player who runs hard, and plays the game hard is at risk with injury so that argument is invalid.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

I only replied to your comment about Banuelos, i did not bring him up to start with. I don’t know how far it will drop for Texiera or if it will drop at all I just used Bautista the example that you used to show how people don’t always come back from wrist injuries at the pre-injury level. If you want to use Uehara you should also note that he couldn’t cut it as a starter so perhaps Tanaka won’t either. I can list some more Japanese pitchers who didn’t make it very long like Dice-K as well as some Cubans, Americans and others who were scouted by plenty of teams who didn’t make it despite the hype. I didn’t say he was going to be a bust, I just stated it was a possibility. I must have touched a nerve with the Ellsbury comment but the comparison to Kemp is valid as they play the same way and both are frequently injured due to collisions.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 6 months ago

That argument can be said for many players though. If you play hard; collisions are inevitable. Its not as if Ellsbury has any lingering health issues, hes healthy now so there is nothing to worry about.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

Not all players play hard the same way.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

Not all players play hard the same way.

Maxxx Depth
1 year 6 months ago

Tex, Jeter, Elsbury, McCann and Beltran are all ? marks.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 6 months ago

Those players can all be replaced. No one can replace Mo but I’m confident Robertson can do the job.

Doug
1 year 6 months ago

Where’s the follow up article about the “failed Physical?”

Christopher J. Mills
1 year 6 months ago

So original

Eric Gibson
1 year 6 months ago

Where’s the funny?

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 6 months ago

For Oreo fans that are unfamiliar with Ubaldo’s time in Cleveland (2011-2013): He was terrible when we he came at the deadline in 2011 and became one of the worst starters in baseball in 2012 walking a lot of guys and getting hammered when he did throw a strike. 2013 started to look like more of the same from him where he looked completely lost for the first quarter of the season. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway had been working on things with Ubaldo and eventually this work began to pay off around May where he showed glimpses of a dominate pitcher. By the last two months of the season he was pitching as well as anyone in baseball and routinely lasted into or past the 7th inning. If Ubaldo is anywhere near as good as what he was in the second half of 2013, you guys got a great deal. If he goes back to his 2012 days, prepare to hate him.

Seamaholic
1 year 6 months ago

That “dominant pitcher” towards the end of 2013 was pitching mostly against AAA lineups — bad teams who were playing the kids to see what they had. And Ubaldo was fooling them. But he’s still the guy who lost 4-5 mph on his fastball from his Rockies days, and has no better command. It’s not a crushing contract so a fine signing, but I suspect it won’t help the O’s much.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t think Angelos would have signed off on Garza because of the injury history.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 6 months ago

It is not easy to build a minor league system. The rules are set to make it incredibly difficult.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 6 months ago

Taxes are higher in Canada even for baseball players.

Hoosierdaddy92
1 year 6 months ago

There’s room for both. O’s have the DH-spot open as well. And Drew would be a good plug-in guy at SS and 3b so that Hardy and Machado can avoid the DL as they are both injury prone.

Harrison
1 year 6 months ago

Hardy hasn’t missed any notable time in 3 or 4 years and Machado played just about every game from his call-up in August 2012 until his knee injury in late September last year. I’d hardly call them “injury prone” at this point. At the cost of a pick, Drew makes no sense. The Orioles have plenty of infield depth- Weeks, Casilla, Phelps, etc. And Schoop should be ready later in the year.

Hoosierdaddy92
1 year 6 months ago

While I agree the past 2 seasons Hardy has been healthy, we’ll see if he keeps that up given his much more extensive injury history and age. As for Machado, you’re right he’s not injury prone. He hasn’t played enough to have that label yet. But he suffered an unquestionably significant injury. If the O’s are smart, he should not play every game at 3b this season. That’s where Stephen Drew makes a ton of sense for them. At the cost of a “second round” pick (they already gave up their firstrounder for Jimenez) I don’t see what the big deal is. Especially since Drew may only be a one year deal as he wants an opt-out, he won’t tie them out and possibly prevent them from keeping Wieters or Davis. Morales and Cruz will still likely cost multiple years. Lastly, you act as though Flaherty and Schoop are proven players. They are far from it. The O’s need to win now, and you can’t go into a season like that with that big a question mark at second base. See Detroit Tigers-Ryan Raburn

Harrison
1 year 6 months ago

If you’re giving up the pick, you have to get several years of value for it. Throwing it away on a one year deal would be ludicrous. Signing Drew to a one year deal at the cost of a pick(or at least a deal he could get out of after one year) to play a position he’s never even played once in an 8 year Major league career would be downright silly. No sane GM would do that.

Hoosierdaddy92
1 year 6 months ago

Weeks and Ryan Flaherty. Upside guys, far from proven though. O’s really should just go all-in now that they have sacrificed the first round pick. Pick-up Drew and maybe Morales and/or Cruz to DH/LF. That would be a serious lineup.

Andrew Ochs
1 year 6 months ago

Yes Baltimore’s highs can get just as high

1 year 6 months ago

…and Rogers Centre, where fly balls of carry on for home runs. This isn’t the teams Ubaldo has been seeing the past three years. Good chance he get rocked. Often. He’ll need to miss a lot of bats in this division.

Koufax Holmes
1 year 6 months ago

This is literally the least funny physical joke of the entire offseason.

livingpaint
1 year 6 months ago

I smell another epic trade with the Mariners in the works… which one of the “im about to be injured” pitchers will we trade the farm for next? hehehehe

Gilded Splinter
1 year 6 months ago

Interesting sign. 4 year deal? That’s puzzling. They had whet appeared to be better pitchers available for 2 year deals. I guess this is the penalty for waiting.

This gives Baltimore 5 starters that can give this anywhere from 5-8 solid innings.

If Adam Jones and Chris Smith both slump this year – O’s will battle Blue Jays for last.

malkusm
1 year 6 months ago

Who is Chris Smith?

Gilded Splinter
1 year 6 months ago

hahahahahahaha. My bad. I meant Chris Davis. Proof again I can’t do 2 things at once. Thanks for pointing out.

Gilded Splinter
1 year 6 months ago

hahahahahahaha. My bad. I meant Chris Davis. Proof again I can’t do 2 things at once. Thanks for pointing out.

malkusm
1 year 6 months ago

Who is Chris Smith?

Harrison
1 year 6 months ago

FIFY:
If (insert team’s two top hitters here) both slump this year, (insert just about any team here) will battle with (insert another bad team here) for last place.

Gilded Splinter
1 year 6 months ago

If every stadium in the Majors suffer outages from sinkholes baseball will greatly be deterred.

Run Support Group
1 year 6 months ago

Who’s Chris Smith?

Rangerbourne
1 year 6 months ago

Well when you put it that way, the REALLY had a terrible offseason.

snowbladerp14
1 year 6 months ago

he has been very very bad againt NY and Boston but very very good againt TOR and Tampa

Fernando
1 year 6 months ago

Physical passed. I vote that anyone making another failed physical joke regarding the Orioles gets an automatic ban.

GoRav114
1 year 6 months ago

Unfortunately, even with Jimenez it’s the fourth best. Pineda was hurt all of last year but is the real deal. They could end up with 3 aces this year. I think the pitching in the AL East stacks up with any other division.

Harrison
1 year 6 months ago

The Yankees’ rotation is going to be pretty ugly this year- CC’s just about done, Kuroda’s another year older, and the rest are question marks. I would take the Orioles’ rotation over the Yankees’ all day, everyday.

Unassisted Triple Play
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not a fan of this signing. Ask the Rockies FO, they know, Ubaldo Jimenez is fool’s gold.

mack22
1 year 6 months ago

yeah he got off track with the Rox, but the Cleveland pitching coach got him straightened out. This is a HUGE deal for the birds. The AL East just got a lot more competitive.

Unassisted Triple Play
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah I’m gonna go ahead and say that it’s probably not wise to compare the 2014 Orioles to the 1996 Yankees.