Ubaldo Jimenez turned in another lackluster start for the Baltimore Orioles last night. What should the O’s do about him? Should he remain on the team?
At this point, one might start to allow thought to creep into their heads regarding Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles. Namely, whether or not he should continue in the vain that he is. Jimenez had a rough outing in last night’s game, although in fairness Seattle came across as on a mission from the get go. Jimenez’s line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 4 K.
Former Oriole Nelson Cruz, smacked a two-RBI single in the first to set the tone for the evening. Cano added an RBI-single in the fifth, as did Cruz once again. Seager’s three-run homer broke the game wide open, and that was followed up by an RBI-double by Cano and topped off by a Cruz home run. At the end of the night, the Birds had fallen 10-0.
It’s important to point out that not all of those ten runs were charged to Jimenez. As I said above when I posted his line score, only six of those runs were his. Brian Matusz struggled out of the ‘pen as well. But it all begins and ends with starting pitching, and Jimenez didn’t have it last night.
Call to the Pen
So at this point what do the Orioles do with Jimenez? The fact is that with a few exceptions, he hasn’t lived up to his hype – here in Baltimore at least. Before someone jumps in and just says cut him, let me point something out that I’ve said several times over…
…the Orioles can’t do that. It’s just not possible, because it makes zero business sense. MLB contracts are gauranteed, which means that the player gets paid regardless of whether he’s on your roster or not. So if the Orioles were to simply cut him, they’d still be paying him. His status of being on the roster is irrelevant.
Baseball’s version of cutting someone is designating them for assignment. If the O’s DFA’d Jimenez, he’d still be on the payroll, AND someone else could pick him up – at the Orioles’ expense. (Basically another team could sign him at the league minimum and the O’s would be kicking in the salary at which they signed him – minus the league minimum.) So even the most ardent Jimenez detractor out there would have to admit that’s not an option.
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But what is an option? Well he first option is to continue working with him and hoping that he regains his form. The Orioles could also look to trade him, although I’m not sure what the market would be on him at this point. The most reasonable option however is probably to send him to the bullpen, or to invent an injury so to speak.
A lot of teams, including the Orioles, probably over-use the disabled list. Let’s not kid ourselves – it’s an option. Nevertheless, Jimenez seemed to indicate after the game that Seattle was just able to hit ’em where they weren’t fairly well last night (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli of mlb.com):
"After the first inning, I was able to settle down. In the fifth inning, they were able to find holes. Two out of three hits they got, like the one to [Norichika] Aoki and Cano, they were good pitches. They just found the holes."
At the end of the day, I suspect that the Birds will continue working with Jimenez. This involves more than just getting on the field and throwing – it involves looking at film and trying to find anything mechanically that’s going south. At the end of the day, it’s something that Showalter and his coaches will need to figure out – what to do with Jimenez, that is.
The O’s will try to take game two of this series with Seattle tonight at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Taijuan Walker. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.