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Orioles in no rush to bring back Ubaldo Jimenez

Jul 14, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Getty Images

Ubaldo Jimenez injuring his ankle stepping in a hole provided the Orioles with an opportunity to give Kevin Gausman an extended chance in the starting rotation and now it sounds like they’re telling Jimenez to take his sweet time coming back.

Manager Buck Showalter told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that Jimenez will definitely need a minor-league rehab assignment before being cleared to come off the disabled list, so he won’t be returning when eligible on July 23. In fact, it seems likely that Jimenez will miss the remainder of the month, at minimum, giving the Orioles plenty of time to figure out what to do with Gausman and their suddenly crowded rotation.

Jimenez has struggled in the first season of a four-year, $50 million deal, but his control problems have always been a major issue and … well, five months ago the Orioles deemed him worthy of a $50 million investment. In other words, he’ll be back in the rotation eventually. And by that time Gausman may have established himself as Baltimore’s ace.

  1. dowhatifeellike - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Eat the cost. Send him and a pile of cash somewhere else. The Orioles are 6-12 when he starts, 48-30 when he doesn’t.

    • southpaw2k - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      1.) And get what in return for him? A bag of used baseballs? Not many teams aside from the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels can afford to eat $50 million like that. The Orioles certainly couldn’t.

      2.) I don’t think I’ve ever seen any team in previous years choose to part ways with a free agent acquisition less than a year into his contract. Ubaldo has been a pretty huge bust so far, but see #1 again.

      • dowhatifeellike - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        A bag of used baseballs could probably find the strike zone., at least.

        The numbers I gave were simply to illustrate a point: the team is better without him. I didn’t like the signing when it happened and I like it even less now.

        Keeping a bad player around because you have too much money invested in him is what losing teams do. Stock market investors do the same thing; people who know when to cut their losses consistently come out ahead. Don’t throw good money after bad; Let Brach or T.J. get a few spot starts. They couldn’t do much worse.

        No matter how you dissect the statistics, Ubaldo is well below average. Except for two strong half-seasons, his whole career has been well below average. It was below average in the NL, and even worse in the AL. It was a terrible signing and it’s time to own up to it and find someone who can do better.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      See my comment below. He has terrible run support (bottom 10 in MLB) which certainty attributes to his record.

      By that record logic, would you have shipped out Jeff Samardzija too with his 3-8 record on the year? He has the WORST run support of any MLB starter to date, but clearly he’s not as bad as his record would lead you to believe, correct?

      • realgone2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        I see your point about run support and wins but c’mon comparing Shark to Ubaldo? Really?

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        I needed somebody with a terrible record and low run support to compare. Both have 3-8 records with bottom 10 run support. It was a HUGE reach but worked to my advantage there!

        Otherwise you’re right, absolutely no comparison.

      • djpostl - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        You must be a MASN employee because they love to pin his performance on run support while ingnoring the fact he barely goes5 IP per start, walks a ton of guys and has an ERA of 4.52 and a FIP of 4.70.

        Dude sucks. Period.

        He had one great first half of a season in 2010.

        He had one decpetively good 2d half to a seaosn in 2013 (67% of his last 15 starts came vs teams with offenses in bottom 6 in all of MLB).

        Between that time he logged nearly 600 IP of what could not even be described as mediocre baseball, posting an ERA in the mid-5.00s.

        Now he is pitching to what anyone making objective analysis would deem to be his norm.

        Which is terrible.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        DJ

        First and foremost, I wish I was a MASN employee. Much more exciting than what I currently do.

        As far as Ubaldo’s stats go, I was simply stating that you can’t look at the record of a player and base their performance on that alone, and made mention that run support is a key factor in a W-L record of a pitcher. I didn’t say he was an ace, let alone a top 2 guy, but I still don’t consider him awful or terrible. Not worth his contract I would agree with but not horrible. He’s still better than what we had in Matusz as a starter and Arrieta (not his current version but his 2012/13 self) so it’s a minor upgrade. Just came with a high cost. If he could get his walks and pitch counts back under control he’d be much better off, but it’s not as if he’s going out there and getting lit up every game.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:16 PM

        Johnny Eutaw, no one is saying Ubaldo sucks because he’s 3-8. We are saying the other numbers demonstrate that he sucks. The Orioles overall record when he starts is pathetic too. I dread three more seasons of his ridiculous delivery. The Ubaldo pitching for the O’s right now is exactly the guy he has always been, minus two good half-seasons. We fans are going to regret the signing, because he will never earn that contract, and will enforce Peter Angelo’s’ opinions regarding contracts.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:46 AM

        Maybe I’m just wishful thinking then, or overly optimistic at best. I just have this feeling that he will settle in. As I mentioned, you can look at his stats on the year or as of late. If you look at the latter, the O’s have won his last 3 starts, his K’s are up, and walks down (compared to his season avg). He’s getting accustomed to his catchers now. You need to remember how big of a factor that plays into the season for this rotation: they went from Wieters, one of the best in the game, to Clevenger (AAA), then Caleb Joseph (1st year in the bigs), and on occasion Hundley now (traded to team a month ago). And it’s shown- once Wieters went down the entire rotation’s ERA jumped up big time (remember Tillman’s meltdown? Or Gonzo’s sudden implosion prior to DL?). Now everyone seems to be settling in, even Ubaldo. I just think there are far too many factors in play to say he flat out stinks and I think he needs a full season before giving him a fair analysis. Again, I’m not saying he’s worth his contract at all, at least not to date. Just saying he was showing signs of life and people are ignoring his turn around and looking at the big picture.

        On a side note, if people are willing to look past his 3-8 record, why are they using the “Orioles overall record when he starts” line? Can’t blame a pitcher for his teams offense right? In his last 5 appearances in which the team lost, they have put up 0,1,1,0 & 3 runs. In those starts he’s allowed 5,1,6,2 & 1 run, respectively. That 5 and 6 are bad, I won’t deny that. But the O doesn’t produce for him, which is why the team record sucks when he starts. This stat is as useless as his record in my opinion.

  2. Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    I honestly wouldn’t say his entire season to date has been a “struggle.” In his last 5 starts, the O’s are 3-2 (won his last 3) and Ubaldo has posted a 3.47 ERA. Since the game prior to that in which he got shelled by Oakland, he has dropped his ERA by a half point on the season. Not exactly earth shattering, but he’s been pitching much better than his record (or contract) dictates. Worth noting his high walk count this year- he’s walked 60 so far this year, in comparison to the 80 he walked in the entire 2013 season, which is more in line with his career. Oh yea, and his cellar dweller run support (3.2 runs per game) is not helping his cause either.

    That said, Ubaldo getting extended rest is not the biggest reason for Gausman in the rotation. It’s missed that Bud Norris is still recovering from his injury. So basic math here, 2 starters down, 1 up, and 1 hole. They had TJ McFarland take a spot start last week, but that’s not something the O’s should be doing post-All Star break when they start with a 10 game west coast road trip, and their first 22 games against teams over .500. They need either Ubaldo or Norris back or that division lead will fade quickly.

    • southpaw2k - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      I never quite understood why run support is any kind of stat to indicate how well a pitcher is (or is not) doing in a season/career. Pitchers have virtually zero control over how many runs their teams score on their behalf in the league (NL pitchers obviously have a very small amount to say about it since they bat, but AL starters have no part in it at all). I point much more to the amount of walks Ubaldo has given up and the amount of pitches he’s had to use in most of his starts this season, which has worn him out by the 5th inning or so.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        I’m not disagreeing (re:run support). I was just making note that the W-L record of a pitcher is what people see in saying Ubaldo and his 3-8 suck, but his record is effected by the run support. If he was pitching the way he is now but had an 8-3 record, you wouldn’t hear people saying his season has been terrible (or as many).

        And I agree- walks are his biggest issue. Get those down, pitch count will follow, and longer duration as well. But I still refuse to say he sucks or he’s a bust and needs to go already.

    • emdash01 - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      I don’t think anyone with a BB/9 of 5.42 and a 7.95 K/9 can be said to be pitching better than his record. *Maybe* he’s giving up a few more home runs than he should, but that’s more than offset by a higher-than-you’d-expect number of runners left on base. He’s actually outperforming his FIP. He just hasn’t been a good pitcher this season so far.

  3. realgone2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    Bartolo Colon is available. Haha

  4. pbastille - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Ubaldo at his best:

  5. realgone2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    So It’s the Orioles version of BJ Upton?

  6. watermelon1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Also every time he takes the mound, orioles bats seem to freeze up no matter which opposing pitcher they are facing. Definitely doesn’t help him out…

    But since the team is winning, this is easily the right move.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      It’s even worse when they are facing a young pitcher they’ve never seen before. They come into those games as if they didn’t bother to do their homework at all and take a blind approach, effectively turning the Triple A pitcher into a stud. And it happens every single time. Hands down THE most frustrating this about Orioles baseball this year.

  7. janessa31888 - Jul 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    I don’t blame them. I shudder thinking how bad the Indians rotation would be if we had kept him. It’s not very good already.

  8. lenbias34pt - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    It’s typical fan talk, But the fact is what we are seeing is who U is……Look at his career.

    He has bad months, Control is always an issue.
    He’ll get a few weeks off and than will be right back in the rotation. And he will pitch better than he did in the first half.

    Watch him pitch, the guy has electric stuff. Matter of time.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      It’s electric, buts low voltage.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        * but it’s

  9. edelmanfanclub - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    I found the solution to their problems! When they bring him back, don’t start him during the day.

    Day: 0-5, 10.29 ERA, 2.34 WHIP, .356 BAA
    Night: 3-3, 2.87 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .216 BAA

    As a Sox Fan I should have kept this to myself.

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