It has been an offseason in which the Baltimore Orioles were getting ripped by fans and media alike for not being more aggressive in their pursuit of high-end talent. Aside from his ill-fated attempt to sign closer Grant Balfour, GM Dan Duquette seemed content to watch other AL East teams spend big as he continued to shop from the bargain bin.
On Monday night, the Orioles finally made their big splash.
Baltimore agreed to a 4-year, $48 million deal with RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. In doing so, the Orioles had to sacrifice the 17th pick in 2014 draft. Yes, there is risk involved there. But it’s a risk the Orioles had to take.
Jimenez is only 30, so he is in the prime of his career. He was one of the more sought-after free-agent starting pitchers on the market and Baltimore got him at a reasonable price. They Orioles even gave him that four-year deal that they have been reluctant to give to pitchers in the past.
After a an All-Star campaign for the Colorado Rockies in 2010, it has been an up-and-down ride for Jimenez. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2011 and it took him a couple of seasons to get acclimated to the American League. In the second half of 2013, when the Indians were making a playoff push, Jimenez was outstanding. He struck out 100 in 84 innings and posted an ERA of 1.82. If the Orioles get that guy in 2014, they have themselves a steal.
Pitching in Camden Yards is not the easiest thing to do and can be really tough in the summer months. Fortunately, Jimenez is known for keeping the ball in the park.
He is also known for durability. He should give the Orioles over 30 starts and pitch close to 200 innings.
His addition gives Baltimore depth in the rotation and may allow Kevin Gausman to start the year in Norfolk were he can get more seasoning.
Overall, this is a strong move for a Baltimore Orioles organization that needed to improve their talent on the field and also needed to pacify a frustrated fan base.
Welcome to Baltimore Ubaldo Jimenez.
Good luck with that physical.