Indians rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez likely to receive qualifying offer

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

The Indians are likely to extend the qualifying offer to Jimenez in an effort to protect themselves if he signs elsewhere in free agency.

The Indians finally got the performance they were hoping for out of Ubaldo Jimenez this season. After acquiring him from the Rockies at the trade deadline in 2011, Jimenez had been less than spectacular in Cleveland, posting an ERA over 5.00 through 2012. But the indians got a taste of vintage Colorado-Ubaldo in 2013 as he cruised to a 3.30 ERA and struck out 194 batters in 182.2 innings.

According to Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian, Cleveland would love to bring Jimenez back for another postseason run next year, but his recent success might be enough to price him out of the Indians plans. They will likely present him with the one-year, $14.1M qualifying offer that guarantees them a draft pick in compensation should Jimenez decline the offer and sign with another club.

Jimenez is unlikely to accept the offer, opting instead to pursue a long-term deal in free agency. Bastian notes that the extension Tim Lincecum recently signed might end up impacting the market for Jimenez substantially. Both pitchers have gone through some tough times after notable success. Though Jimenez might be in a better position due to his reinvigorated approach on the mound, he does have the following Lincecum has and that might be enough to even out the comparisons. Regardless, Jimenez will be looking at eight-figures per season and he's likely to receive longer than 2 years on the open market.

Cleveland might very well retain Jimenez with an extension of some kind, but if he opts for free agency, they will likely protect themselves against a complete loss with the qualifying offer.

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