The Baltimore Orioles and free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez have reportedly agreed to a four-year contract, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal on Twitter:
Source: #Orioles in agreement with Jimenez. Deal is pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 17, 2014
Bob Nightengale of USA Today provides more specifics on the terms of the deal:
Jimenez gets $50 million over 4 years from #Orioles— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 18, 2014
Orioles manager Buck Showalter commented on the signing of Jimenez (via Eduardo A Encina of the Baltimore Sun):
Buck on Ubaldo:"I feel like I have a pretty good idea coming in whats happened in the past. Im more interested in the future & the present."— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 18, 2014
Buck said that ownership "stepped up" in completing #Orioles signings of Jimenez and Yoon.— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 18, 2014
Signing Jimenez, who is tied to draft compensation, means that the Orioles will lose their 17th overall draft pick. But as executive vice president Dan Duquette pointed out ahead of the announcement, Baltimore's need for starting pitching left it with little choice but to look into acquiring the Dominican Republic native, per Rosenthal:
I've said all along that we would take a look at it. We do have a little bit better talent base in our organization. Our scouts have done a decent job recruiting internationally as well as domestically. With the maturity of our team, we have to take a look at it.
The 30-year-old right-hander spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with the Cleveland Indians after earning an All-Star nod with the Colorado Rockies back in 2010.
Jimenez is coming off a 2013 season that saw him go 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA and 194 strikeouts.
For the Orioles, signing Jimenez promises to deliver a huge boost to a pitching staff that struggled immensely in 2013. Baltimore ranked 23rd in the majors last season in team ERA (4.20), and, even worse, 24th in quality starts (78).
While Jimenez has struggled to achieve the same form that earned him a spot in the All-Star Game and National League Cy Young consideration four seasons ago, he brings a durable and reliable starting arm to Charm City. With Baltimore ending its postseason drought in 2012 and looking to compete for a World Series title in 2014, signing Jimenez is without question a commendable move.
Still, it remains to be seen what sort of focus and energy the veteran will bring next season as he's landed a coveted long-term contract.
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