Free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is telling teams he is looking for $14 million annually on a multi-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Jimenez has not been the subject of too many rumors to this point in the offseason as teams looking for starting pitching focus on Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka. He has been connected to the Blue Jays and the Orioles this offseason and he will presumably be of interest to teams like the Yankees and Mariners should they miss out on Tanaka.
At this point, Jimenez's asking price appears to be high considering his recent performances. He had a strong season with Cleveland in 2013, posting a 3.30 ERA in 182 1/3 innings, but his 2012 and 2011 performances raise cause for concern. In 2012, he posted a 5.40 ERA and career worst K/9 and BB/9 rates. In 2011, he put up a 4.68 ERA. Along with those poor ERA numbers, Jimenez has shown decreasing velocity over the last three seasons. In 2010, Jimenez was one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game, averaging 96 mph on his fastball. By 2013 his fastball velocity had declined to 92.1 mph (per Fangraphs). The 29-year-old righty will also cost teams a draft pick in addition to his salary as a result of rejecting the qualifying offer from the Indians which may hurt the market for services as it did for Kyle Lohse last season.
Until Tanaka is signed, the market for free agent pitchers is likely to move slowly. To this point, just one top free agent starter has signed this winter. Ricky Nolasco landed a four-year, $49 million deal with the Twins in late November. Nolasco. Viewed in relation to Nolasco's deal, Jimenez's demands don't look completely unreasonable. Jimenez is two-years younger than Nolasco and he posted a better ERA in 2013. His 2012 season was worse, but he has shown superior strikeout ability even when he has struggled. Like Nolasco, Jimenez offers teams durability, topping 30 starts ever season since 2008. Nolasco did not carry draft pick compensation, however, which is likely to be a key difference.
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