According to multiple reports the Orioles have agreed to terms with Ubaldo Jimenez on a 4 year deal of around $48MM pending a physical. However the Orioles have already seen two deals fall through this offseason with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin due to a failed or unsatisfactory physical. This move by the Orioles comes on the heels of signing Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon to a guaranteed 3 year contract worth $5.575MM with incentives that could increase the value to just over $13MM.
A few weeks ago we discussed Jimenez and Santana and weighed the positive and negatives on both pitchers. If the AAV of the contract is in fact around $12MM a year as reported, the Orioles patience has paid off in seeing his asking price significantly drop from its starting point of around 5 years at 15 per year. In doing so the Orioles would be giving up their 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft as compensation for signing Jimenez. The draft pick compensation has caused many teams to stay away from Jimenez and other remaining FA’s.
The Orioles had a team ERA of 4.20 in 2013 and a Starters ERA of 4.57. In 2013 Jimenez had a respectable year for Cleveland finishing: 13-9, 3.30 ERA, 182.2 IP, 194 SO, 80 BB, 1.330 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 2.7 WAR. This move should help improve their SP situation which currently consists of Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Suk-min Yoon and Bud Norris.
Here are my positive and negative points on Jimenez from my previous review:
At 30 Jimenez has played in parts of 8 seasons, has been good for about 180-200 IN per season, SO/9 rates around 8-9, career park adjusted ERA+ of 112. Jimenez had a nice 2013 season after a poor showing between 2011-2012. He has shown himself to be a high ceiling pitcher having generated a 7.5 WAR season in 2010 and 16.9 WAR from 2008-2010. He however lacks the consistency that Santana has shown.
Cause for concern would be his career BB/9 rate of 4.0. The Blue Jays have been a know suitor for Jimenez and might also consider his poor performances to date against the Red Sox & Yankees. Those are teams that can work a count and can punish pitchers for too many BB. However he has shown well against the Rays & Orioles. His AAV expectation of around $15MM and request for 4 years might be met. Again Jimenez also has a draft pick compensation attached to him as the Indians gave him a qualifying offer. Your taking more risk on Jimenez but have potential to see a higher reward.