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Orioles can’t be feeling very good about their $50 million investment in Ubaldo Jimenez

Jun 9, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Ubaldo Jimenez AP AP

Ubaldo Jimenez is 13 starts into a four-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles and things aren’t going well at all.

Jimenez failed to make it out of the third inning Sunday on the way to his league-leading seventh loss of the season, dropping him to 2-7 with a 5.01 ERA overall. In addition to the league-high loss total he also leads the league in walks with 40, handing out 5.1 free passes per nine innings for what would be the highest rate of his already control-challenged career.

Jimenez was also awful for the Indians in 2012, going 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA, so he picked a helluva time to put together a strong season in 2013 before hitting the open market as a free agent. Although, in fairness to the Orioles, a $50 million investment in a free agent starting pitcher is hardly franchise-wrecking and in general the market for Jimenez was lower than many people expected.

He’s owed $12.25 million in 2015, $13 million in 2016, and $13.5 million in 2017.

  1. renaado - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Any word on Yoon Suk-Min?

  2. clydeserra - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    The investment wasn’t so much the money, but the draft picks for him and cruz.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Wait until next year and year 4 of the contract. He seems to pitch well every 2 years.

    • jarathen - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      He has Ervin Santana syndrome. His ERA+ every year since he debuted in 2004:

      91
      106
      79
      127
      87
      102
      111
      74
      127
      100

      bad, average, bad, good, bad, average, slightly above average, bad, good, average.

      • jarathen - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        I take that back. Ubaldo clearly peaked in 2010. Even 2013 was merely a bit better than average. Santana at least could have a good year every now and then.

  4. missthemexpos - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Amazing how players have a great season the year they are to be a free agent.

  5. ud1951 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Signing free agents, and pitchers in particular, is always roughly the same as buying a lottery ticket. That is likely the motivation many teams use to build better player development systems.

  6. scoochpooch - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    We talked about this during the offseason already. NL pitchers don’t excel in the AL.
    There was no way this guy was going to survive playing in the AL East and last year’s good season was 100% due to his contract year status.
    If you just follow a few of these axioms you can easily determine how successful players are going to be.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      NL pitchers don’t excel in the AL.

      Kuroda, Pedro, Schilling, [does RJ count?], etc have all performed well in the NL > AL switch.

    • paperlions - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      1) Which league is Cleveland in?

      2) The AL isn’t any better than the NL now.

  7. karlkolchak - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    This is the latest version of the Cubs blowing $50 million plus on Edwin Jackson.

    • pipkin42 - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      This is the latest version of Scott Erickson, Omar Daal, Sidney Ponson, Danys Baez, etc etc etc.

      Free agent pitching is hard, ya’ll.

      • danfrommv - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        If this keeps up, he wins the “Joe Blanton” award for 2014

  8. dowhatifeellike - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I am not frustrated because he is bad.

    I am frustrated because he is bad and everyone and their mum knew he would be, yet the Orioles keep running him out there. They are making a bad contract worse by deciding “we can’t just cut him and pay him the $45M we’d owe, we have to keep him”.

    When it is over, this will be almost as bad as the Albert Belle deal.

    • dowhatifeellike - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      If you look at his splits, he was always awful against the AL East. I just really want to know who thought giving $50M to a guy who had one good year and a bunch of bad ones was such a good idea.

    • bolweevils2 - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      He was one of two guys I thought should have taken the $14.1M qualifying offer last fall because I didn’t think anyone was going to top it. At least I was right about the other one, Stephen Drew.

  9. nbjays - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I’m sure glad the Jays didn’t make a serious run for Jimenez in the offseason. We just got rid of Josh Johnson… we don’t need a second one.

  10. dlgdc - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    The great thing about Ubaldo is that he’s always healthy and rarely ever misses a start. Check that, I mean the bad thing about Ubaldo is that he’s always healthy and rarely misses a start.

  11. sophiethegreatdane - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    As an O’s fan, I could care less about the money — pitchers generally cost a heck of a lot more than $50 mil/4 years. There are relief pitchers with deals approaching that. And besides, it ain’t my money.

    But I do care that Dan Duquette — who I think so far has done a fine job — completely missed the signs on this guy. He’s had two good half-seasons during his tenure in the league, and for the rest of the time he has been almost exactly the guy we are seeing every five days now.

    Columnists and talk show hosts in the area are baffled, saying things like, “What’s happened to Ubaldo?” And I just sit there wondering how someone whose only job is to keep up with area sports could be so uninformed.

  12. zackd2 - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    No one saw this coming….

  13. janessa31888 - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    My deepest sympathies. Ubaldo is tormenting yet another team and fan base.

  14. mkprz - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Players are doing nothing wrong in their outrageous contracts.
    it’s a case of over zealous owners are being taken by slick agents.

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