There have been rumors flying around that the New York Yankees are the team most likely to sign free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a contract, even with the Yankees still planning on making a strong offer for Masahiro Tanaka. Despite Jimenez being one of the more recognizable names to baseball fans on the free-agent market the Yankees need to scrap offering him a contract from their plans.
This one has really come out of left field, and it is a little puzzling to say the least. The Yankees really have not been tied to Jimenez at all during this entire offseason. The plan all along seemed to be to make a huge offer for Tanaka, who has been at the center of a lot of the conversation about free-agent pitchers. Now, if the reports are true, the Yankees are about to go into full-blown Yankees mode.
If the Yankees wind up signing Jimenez to say a five-year contract worth $80 million, it would be a huge mistake and would be the worst contract they have given to a player this offseason. Jimenez is not the guy who went 16-2 in his first 18 decisions back in the first fourth months of the 2010 season. That was an aberration. Jimenez has not been that guy in his career before or after those dominating fourth months. From 2007-09, Jimenez’ ERA was 3.81. From 2011-13, his ERA was an unspectacular 4.45. He walks a ridiculously high four batters per nine innings and has a mediocre 1.35 WHIP for his career. In fact, that 2010 season was the only year Jimenez has posted an ERA below 3.00, and he has only three seasons with an ERA under 3.90. Before posting a 3.30 ERA in 2013 for the Cleveland Indians, Jimenez had an ERA above 4.50 the two previous seasons, ugly numbers to say the least. This is not a guy to offer a multi-year, big-money free-agent contract to. He is too wild in the strike zone, not a potential ace, and a guy who has been inconsistent his whole career. Take away that 2010 season, and Jimenez has been an average to slightly below-average pitcher in his career. The Yankees should pass on signing him and focus their efforts on someone else, like Matt Garza, or ideally, Tanaka.