The Baltimore Orioles have an outstanding lineup filled with a ton of power and youth. The main weakness the Orioles suffered from in 2013 was a lack of a true No. 1 starting pitcher. Based on reports, it appears the O’s may be in agreement on a four-year, $48-$52 million deal with former Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The details aren’t all known for sure, but it is expected to be around the $50 million range.
Admittedly, Jimenez is far from the most consistent pitcher in baseball. He does have occasional control issues and his mechanics are extremely difficult to repeat every time. However, one thing he does provide is the upside of an ace and the durability to eat a ton of innings. In 2013 with the Indians, Jimenez pitched to a 3.30 ERA and a 3.43 FIP in 182.2 innings. Some of his peripheral numbers were excellent, most notably his 9.56 K/9 and 0.79 HR/9.
A positive sign for Jimenez and his next employer is that he got better as the season progressed. In the first half of 2013, he pitched to a 4.50 FIP with 8.57 K/9 and 4.83 BB/9. In the second half, his numbers were much better, putting up a 2.17 FIP and 10.71 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9.
The Orioles’ rotation was, at best, decent last season. Their rotation consisted of, for the most part, Chris Tillman, Scott Feldman, Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez. With the loss of Feldman, the Orioles needed to add another starter. Getting Jimenez was the best case scenario after A.J. Burnett came off the board.
With Jimenez in the fold, it looks like the Orioles’ rotation will be made up of him, Tillman, Norris, Chen and Gonzalez. I don’t know about you, but putting Jimenez at the front of that rotation looks a lot better than it would without him. Combined with the young hitters the Orioles possess, including the American League home run champion, Chris Davis, and the slickest fielding third baseman in baseball, Manny Machado, the Orioles have a legitimate chance to contend in the AL in 2014.