A Meteor Has Hit Baltimore. Angelos Opens Wallet For Jimenez. Here’s What You Need To Know About Ubaldo

Featured, Sports and Bets — February 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm by

I almost passed out when I heard the news.  Hearing that Peter Angelos opened up the wallet and gave a pitcher a four-year deal is like looking into the sky and seeing a meteor heading right for you.  It’s like lightning striking twice.  It’s like snow in August.  You get the idea.  This is game changing.  This is philosophy changing.  This is organization changing.  Have DD and Big Buck finally worn the old man down?  It looks that way.  The Orioles have never signed a free agent pitcher to a four-year deal.  Never.  But they did it yesterday, signing 30-year-old Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million dollar deal.  It’s a big signing for Baltimore, and in a desert of an offseason filled with failed physicals and minor league signings, the Jimenez deal is an oasis filled with bikini clad women and coolers of beer.

Ubaldo Jimenez seems like a nice fit for the Orioles’ rotation. Jimenez closed 2013 by leading the AL with a 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break.  His final line for 2013 as a Cleveland Indian looked like this:

13-9  W-L      3.30 ERA     183 IP     1.33 WHIP     194 K     3.9 BB/9     9.6 K/9

That 3.30 ERA in the American League is real nice.  So are the 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings.  The issue for Jimenez last year was obviously the walks, and that can drive fans and coaches crazy.  But another good stat for Jimenez that bodes well, and probably attracted the Birds to Jimenez in the first place, is his 47.3% career ground ball rate.  With one of the best defensive infields in baseball history behind him, Jimenez and his ground ball rate fit this club perfectly.  Some of those hits that got through the dirt diamond in Cleveland won’t get through here in Baltimore.  It’s a win for Jimenez’s numbers and the Orioles.

Ubaldo also doesn’t give up a lot of home runs.  That kinda goes hand in hand with the ground ball percentage thing.  Jimenez boasted a 0.8 home run per 9 innings last season, and that is a crucial stat in a ballpark as cozy as Camden Yards.

Of course Jimenez isn’t perfect.  After a stellar 2010 season in which he won 19 games, compiled an ERA of 2.88, and finished 3rd in NL Cy Young voting, Jimenez fell off of a cliff, posting 30 losses and an ERA of 5.03 for the next two seasons.  The Orioles are betting $50 million that 2010 and 2013 are the real Jimenez, and not the train wrecks that were 2011 and 2012.

The Jimenez signing also is good for the development of Kevin Gausman.  Gausman now doesn’t have to be rushed to the Majors and he can develop his slider in Norfolk.  The slider is what Gausman needs to be a starter in the Bigs.  He’s already got a plus fastball and a nice off speed pitch, and that third pitch development is key, otherwise he’ll be a short innings guy.  Jimenez’s presence allows the Birds to take their time with the young first-rounder.

Here are Ubaldo Jimenez’s primary pitches:

Four-Seam fastball:

Two-Seam fastball:
Slider:
Changeup:
Now that Jimenez is here maybe the Birds will make a play for another bat.  Can you say Kendrys Morales?
cover pic: twitter.com/oriolesjesus

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