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Orioles demote Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen

Aug 19, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

ubaldo jimenez getty Getty Images

The Orioles’ four-year, $50 million deal with starter Ubaldo Jimenez is already looking like a disaster.

Jimenez registered a 4.83 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over his first 20 outings this season and now’s Brittany Ghiroli reports that the right-hander has been demoted to the bullpen for the stretch run. Miguel Gonzalez will return from Triple-A Norfolk this weekend to fill Baltimore’s vacant rotation spot.

Jimenez was one of the best starters in baseball in 2010, when he finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting after posting a 2.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 214 strikeouts across 221 2/3 innings for the Rockies. But a lack of command has always been a major issue — even in that standout 2010 season — and he’ll finish out 2014 as a mop-up man.

  1. renaado - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Still waitin for Yoon Suk-Min to take the center stage…

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      He’s terrible. Getting lit up in Norfolk, and I highly doubt he ever makes it to play with the big boys. ERA is something like 5.5 and he’s given up runs in 8 of his last 10 outings. Pretty sure he’s been moved to the pen in Norfolk too.

      • renaado - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Damn… It was always his dream to pitch there in the big leagues. Still lookin forward to him to accomplish it, no matter how long it will be. Hope he’ll find his groove soon.

  2. gargamelsmentor - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:47 AM

    He is maddening to watch pitch. Thankfully he’ll only be coming in now during mop-up time. No one, absolutely no one, objects to this move.

  3. southpaw2k - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    I’m actually surprised his ERA this season is “only” 4.83.

    • thelongestgoodbye - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      Agreed. However, he did have 5-6 starts in there where he was only allowing two or three.Maddening is the right word. Every start he was walking at least two in the first inning. Had the O’s known how accomplished Bud Norris would be this year I think they would have saved their money. Oh well, were in the race.

  4. guitarkevin - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Hopefully this move lights a fire. Ubaldo has to feel bad taking all that money and stinking it up.

    • randomdigits - Aug 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      By all accounts he is a nice guy. I am sure he feels as bad as is possible for someone making 12.5 million.

  5. Eutaw's Finest - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    This made my day. Clearly Ubaldo is not one of “Buck’s Boys” or else he’d still be in that rotation indefinitely. As far as I understand Ryan Flaherty is the last remaining Buck Boy on the roster. Am I missing anybody?

    • casmith2112 - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      That “Buck Boy” has been a great role player for the past 2 years. Sure he cant hit consistently, but he is willing to work hard and contribute ANYWHERE in the infield. He even did some early spring work at catcher. I would take him over just about any other bench player in the majors.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Strong words for a career .212 hitter who is hitting .196 on the season. Defensively he is VERY solid. but that’s where his skill ends. And while you can call him out for contributing anywhere in field? That’s simply because:

        1. He’s not good enough to nail down a true position
        2. He goes wherever Buck tells him to go
        3. Defense is not his issue- it’s his bat

        And working hard means nothing if you cannot actually contribute to the team winning. Hell, I could go out to spring training next year and work my tail off, but I’d still suck no matter what! All in all, I’m sure he’s a good guy, but he belongs in triple A not on the bench. Buck is denying guys like Lombardozzi a shot at a bench spot and Schoop deserves to be the everyday 2B (at least he knows what it’s like to be above the Mendozza line).

  6. jamnew44 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    The O’s took a chance with Jimenez, hoping he could recapture the control he had in the 2nd half of 2013. Jimenez may still work out after an off season of coaching and a new approach, but if it doesn’t, this is one of the chances you have to take to win. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.

  7. Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Nick Swisher, henceforth to be known as the guy whose contract precluded the Wahooites from negotiating more than a qualifying offer for Jimenez. Bullet duly dodged. Thanks, bro.

  8. realgone2 - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Yeeesh. Least the O’s didn’t sign BJ Upton

  9. the8man - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    One of only a few mistakes the Os have made this year. Maybe the bullpen time will straighten him out and he can be an innings eater who can pitch well enough to give the team a chance to comeback when they are trailing.

  10. pbastille - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Wada’s been looking good with the Cubbies. Letting him go was a mistake as well.

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