Some thoughts on Ubaldo Jimenez

The Orioles have been saying they wanted to add a pitcher and tonight it has happened.’s Roch Kubatko first reported that the Orioles were finalizing a four-year deal with Ubaldo Jimenez. Now multiple reports say the deal is done, pending a physical.

All along I have been concerned that signing either Jimenez or Ervin Santana along with giving up a first-round pick was too big a price to pay. But the Orioles are set to pay it to the tune of four years for $48 million and they give up the 17th overall pick next June.

In a post earlier, I wrote this about the 30-year-old right-hander from the Dominican:

Jimenez capped his solid 2013 season, where he went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA for Cleveland, with an exceptional finish. In 13 starts after the All-Star Game, he went 6-5 with a 1.82 ERA and 100 strikeouts over 84 innings. He pitched to an ERA of 1.09 in six September starts, which included six shutout innings against the Orioles on Sept. 3.

Jimenez gives up fewer homers and strikes out more batters than Santana. He gave up 16 homers last year and allows just 0.7 per nine innings in his career. His strikeout rate of 9.6 per nine innings in 2013 was a career best.

But Jimenez can walk too many batters and has averaged 4.0 walks per nine innings in his career. He has led the league twice in wild pitches. He averaged 3.9 walks per nine innings last season. He pitched seven or more innings only eight times in 2013. Before he pitched to an ERA of 3.30 in 2013, Jimenez had ERAs of 4.68 and 5.40 the previous two seasons - both well over the league average.

He has also seen his velocity drop. Jimenez averaged 96 mph in 2009-10 when he had strong seasons with Colorado and was at 92.1 mph last season.

But others talk about his ace-like stuff and how his stunning finish last year capped a solid season and has led him to the doorstep of a very nice contract.

So much for all the talk we heard that the Orioles would never give a contract over three years to a free agent pitcher.

Feel free to leave your take on this deal and I’ll add some Jimenez notes here later this evening.

More notes on Jimenez:

* He averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings last year to finish seventh among MLB starters, ahead of pitchers such as Stephen Strasburg, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw.

* If the $48 million figure proves correct, Jimenez would have an average annual value of $12 million per season. That would rank him third on the O’s next season behind only Nick Markakis at $15.0 and Adam Jones at $13.0. Chris Davis gives the O’s four players earning over $10 million at $10.35 million for 2014.

* He had a stunning month of September, going 4-0 with an ERA of 1.09 in six starts. Over 41 1/3 innings he walked seven with 51 strikeouts.

* In a few AL stats among qualifying pitchers last year Jimenez ranked 10th in ERA, 26th in WHIP, 29th in innings and 30th in WAR.

* Jimenez could improve on the 17.3 pitches he threw per inning last year. Several other O’s could as well as Bud Norris was at 17.1 and Chris Tillman at 16.9.

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