Ubaldo Jimenez needs to bounce back in 2015


Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Keeping a close eye on all the off-season moves made around the Major Leagues, I am seeing top quality starting pitchers receive top quality offers. The Chicago Cubs signed Jon Lester to a six-year $155 million contract. And the Yankees are reportedly considering signing Max Scherzer to a long-term contract that will be worth around $140 million.

These big deals remind me of the Baltimore Orioles’ deal made with Ubaldo Jimenez prior to last season. Jimenez signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Orioles on February 17th, 2014.

Hopeful that the Orioles finally picked up their ace, there was a lot riding on Jimenez headed into the 2014 regular season. Unfortunately, Jimenez was a “let down” in 2014 to say the least. In 25 games (22 starts), Jimenez owned a 4.81 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 77 walks.

It got so bad at one point in the season that the Orioles put Jimenez in the bullpen as a middle reliever with only making one more spot start the night the Orioles clinched the division against the Blue Jays.

This is not the Ubaldo the Orioles were hoping on getting. They were hoping for the pitcher who in his last 12 starts with the Indians in 2013, he went 6-4 with a 1.72 ERA and 94 strikeouts in just 78 1/3 innings.

The Orioles technically have six starters going into Spring Training this year (seven if you were to consider Dylan Bundy).

If Ubaldo wants to return to Baltimore in 2015 as a starter he is going to need to show control of his pitches, especially his fastball, come this spring. If not, Baltimore may be chalking this signing up to just a bad move on the organization’s part.