First off, some housekeeping; yesterday there were numerous reports regarding the Baltimore Orioles making a concentrated push to sign free agent slugger Kendrys Morales. Speaking for myself, I suspect that either Morales or Nelson Cruz will be heading to Sarasota within a few days, however who among us really knows? In other words, my personal opinion is that it’s not a matter of IF but more like WHEN. The Orioles are already a competitive team, but another bat that’s capable of popping balls out of Camden Yards would make them a potentially deadly team. Let’s put it this way – if competitive isn’t good enough for you, then you should be rooting for one of those two guys to sign with the O’s. If it happens, we’ll certainly have coverage here at Birds Watcher.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the groundwork for Ubaldo Jimenez’s deal
was laid back in December at the Winter Meetings. Dan Duquette apparently met with Jimenez and his agent at that time, and obviously since then the lines of communication has remained open. This is important for fans to know and understand; Rome wasn’t built in a day. For much of the winter there was angst in Birdland over the speed at which Dan Duquette seemed to be moving. Admittedly up until the Jimenez signing (which was after spring workouts had actually begun), the off season did appear to be rather underwhelming. However sometimes these things take time. People were angry that nobody was signed during the winter meetings; however this signing certainly came as a result of a process that started there. (And for the record, it probably came at a lot less than it would have had the Orioles signed Jimenez then.)
I found it interesting that Jimenez said he was planning on moving his entire family (including his parents) to Baltimore. That’s something that used to be commonplace for athletes; you’d sign with a team and move to that city with your wife and kinds and in essence become a part of it. However while several Orioles (including Nick Markakis and Adam Jones) do make Baltimore their year-round home, it seems that very few athletes do that. However Jimenez of course signed a four-year deal with the O’s, so barring a trade or an outright release (which would be doubtful) he’s going to be here for the foreseeable future.
Not that moving here means anything major, however it does show that Jimenez is dedicated to his new team and his new town. At the very least he’s saying and doing all of the right things; I believe that one of his comments was to the effect that he wanted to bring a championship to the city of Baltimore. The real benefit of course for the Orioles here is that for the next four years it appears that they have one more name in ink that can remain in the starting rotation. Not only does that serve the organization well year in and year out, but it also makes the competition for the remaining four slots more fierce. (And in reality it’s probably three slots that are up for grabs because I think Tillman’s spot is safe.) And that’s something that will also serve the organization well.
Check out Best Tickets to see Jimenez on the mound this year!