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Could Ubaldo Jimenez return to the Indians?

Jan 25, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

Ubaldo Jimenez Getty Getty Images

At the start of the offseason, Ubaldo Jimenez appeared poised to leave the Indians for a big money contract in free agency, but he’s still trying to find a home with spring training just a few weeks away. Perhaps things will pick up now that Masahiro Tanaka has signed with the Yankees, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer envisions a scenario where the 30-year-old right-hander could return to Cleveland:

If Jimenez can’t get a three to four year deal, and comes knocking on the Tribe’s door, I bet both parties would jump at the chance to sign a one-year deal at or below $14 million. It would allow the Indians to keep a grip on their payroll and add a key arm to their rotation, while giving Jimenez a chance to prove last year wasn’t a fluke and take another bite of the free-agent apple after the 2014 season.

Jimenez had a 4.56 ERA through the All-Star break last season, but he appeared rejuvenated with a 1.82 ERA and 100/27 K/BB ratio in 84 innings across 13 starts during the second half. There’s risk involved with making a big investment based on a small sample, especially when teams have to give up a top draft pick along with it, so there’s no guarantee he’ll find the contract he’s looking for. If Jimenez returns to Cleveland on a one-year deal and has another big season under the tutelage of pitching coach Mickey Callaway, teams would likely line up with confidence next winter. It’s something to keep in mind, anyway.

  1. doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Ah, let’s hope so

    signed: Everyone else in the AL Central

    • sportsriffblog - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Amen!

  2. nymets4ever - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Well, I know it’s a business and yada yada, but the Indians are the ones who took a gamble on him and showed enough faith and patience for him to figure things out. So it would be nice to see them reap the rewards a little longer.

  3. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    You can count out the bluejays on this one too

    I don’t always post on this board but when I do read my comments closely my friend.

  4. uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    I know the chances of the Yankees signing him are slim and none and slim may have already left the building but I would still like to see it happen. Anyway, I think there is a very real possibility that Jimenez goes back to the Indians on a one year deal and then tries again next year to cash in as a FA.
    I also wouldn’t count out the Orioles IF his price drops a bit more say to 3 year and around $12 or $13MM per.

    • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      That would make entirely too much sense. The Yanks rotation is a series of question marks, Ubaldo would be one of the better bets in there. CC is aging, Kuroda is old, we have no idea what Tanaka will do (especially early in the season before he adjusts, and late in the season when he tires), Nova is only a #3 at best, and I would not expect Pineda to ever be a serious contributer. Adding Ubaldo would give them a potential #2 and some good insurance.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        My friend I think you greatly underestimate the Yankees starting rotation. I guess we will have to wait and see.

      • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        I think the point is that we have to estimate it at all. Not a single starter is a sure thing, which is not a problem most teams of their payroll level have. Look at the Dodgers, Red Sox and Tigers for comparison. Who on the Yankees is *guaranteed* to have a player in the top ten of the Cy Young voting? I can name one from each of those teams, but none on the Yanks.

        Its possible Tanaka will be another Darvish. Its possible CC will be CC from two years ago. Its possible Kuroda won’t show his age or tire as he did last season. Its possible Nova will be Nova from last year and not Nova from the season before. Its possible Pineda could come back and contribute. But I look at rotations like the ones I mentioned and I don’t see those kinds of questions being asked.

  5. jrs45 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    doctorofsmuganomics,

    That’s what everyone says when they have to play the comedyCentral division! Ahhhh

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 25, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      And yet most of their teams are better than your favorite.

      Suck it.

  6. jrs45 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    doctorofsmuganomics,

    Central division lol too funny too sorry!

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 25, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      Since you posted the same lameass comment twice, so shall I:

      And yet most of their teams are better than your favorite.

      Suck it twice.

  7. contraryguy - Jan 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    w/o Ubaldo, what’s the rotation look like?

    Masterson
    McAllister
    Kluber
    Bauer
    ???

    The Tribe picked up some free agents but they’re all bullpen.

    • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Jan 25, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      Don’t forget about Danny Salazar. Probably the #2 behind Masterson..

  8. sdeweese18 - Jan 25, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    We saw it with Kyle Lohse last season. I’m all for competitive balance, but forfeiting a first-round pick for a player is starting to get ridiculous. It creates a huge problem for the free agent.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      Makes the guy a “not quite” Free Agent

    • paperlions - Jan 25, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Eh, a little….usually it is the player’s asking price that keep teams from signing him, not the pick. Jimenez, Cruz, Morales….those guys all over estimated their market.

  9. jrs45 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    doctorofsmuganomics,

    None of those teams combine the amount of w.s. Titles the Yanks have!

    Suck it!

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      And what happened the last time the Yanks made the playoffs?

      Oh, that’s right. Swept by the Tigers. This must be embarrassing for you

  10. jrs45 - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    doctorofsmuganomics,

    Actually you can suck on my bat 27 times!

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      Son, (and I call you son because A: you’re a moron and I’m smarter than you, and B: I’m far superior to you it’s almost not funny) if you’re not even gonna try and be creative I’m not going to bother. God you’re boring.

      By the way, bat? You give yourself far too much credit. You strike me more as the type to have a toothpick down there

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    actually I think he is the best pitcher left on the market and if you could get him for the right deal this could be a major steal. I’d love to see him on the Yankees personally but I know there is no room for him now

  12. jrs45 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Embarrassing is World Series championships: 1935, 1945, 1968, 1984

    Sure you can call me son. But you have to be a grandaddy as yourself to remember those years old man. Have fun being tag Bills of the MLB Boy.I.L.L.Superbowls….

    And grandaddy my toothpick is still bigger than yours!

  13. jrs45 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Boy I Love Losing Superbowls = Bills and Tigers spittin image!

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