Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is back in the big leagues where it all started for him.
The year is 2020. Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez just wrapped up a Dominican Winter League stint where he struck out 27 hitters in 29 innings, did not allow a single home run, and owned a 3.03 ERA through eight starts.
This stint in the Dominican is just the precursor to his 2020 spring training in Major League Baseball with the Colorado Rockies.
You wouldn’t believe me if I would have said those words two years ago, but after a surprising announcement on Wednesday afternoon, those words have become reality.
The Colorado Rockies have signed 36-year-old RHP Ubaldo Jimenez to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
Jimenez hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2017, but the former All-Star is giving it one last go, reuniting with the organization where he had the most success with in his 12-year career.
From 2007-2011, Jimenez went 56-45 with 3.66 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 137 starts. He was worth 19.7 fWAR, including a 6.0 fWAR season in 2010 that saw him record 19 wins and 2.88 ERA with the Rockies. He finished third in Cy Young voting that season and made his only All-Star game.
During his time in Colorado, only one other pitcher was worth more than 10.0 fWAR, Aaron Cook. There’s no denying that Jimenez is one of the top pitchers in Rockies history, experiencing many years of success in a ballpark notorious for pitching struggles.
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Jimenez spent his final seven seasons in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles, where Orioles fans fondly remember him for just two reasons, the massive contract he never lived up to and that 2016 Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
He was 26-30 with a 4.45 ERA in three seasons with Cleveland and 32-42 with a 5.22 ERA with Baltimore.
One of the more interesting numbers to look at over the course of Ubaldo’s career is his home run totals. He averaged 1.0/9 IP with the Indians, 1.3/9 IP with the Orioles, but just 0.6/9 IP while calling Coors Field home.
As pointed out by the Colorado Rockies on Twitter, Jimenez ranks 2nd in Rockies history with 773 strikeouts and fifth in wins (56), games started (137), and innings pitched (851).
He also threw the only no-hitter in Rockies history.
Despite the memories of Ubaldo as a pitcher with the Orioles, I’m personally excited to watch him get one more opportunity. You can bet I will be tuning in to a few Rockies spring training games to see how he does.
Best of luck, Ubaldo!