The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with starter Ubaldo Jimenez taccording to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Roch Kubatko of MASN.com was first to report that the deal, which is currently pending a physical.
After posting a 13-9 record and 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for the Indians last season, Jimenez refused Cleveland's qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason and has seen a slow-developing market ever since. The 30-year old was also linked to the Yankees, Mariners and Blue Jays in recent days, and Kubatko notes that the Orioles had to add a fourth year to their offer to seal the deal with him.
The Orioles have been looking to add starting pitching all offseason, and have been linked to Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett throughout the winter. The O's showed serious interest in both Arroyo and Burnett because neither veteran would cost the team a draft pick, but each signed elsewhere, prompting Baltimore to look closer at Santana and Jimenez. According to a baseball source, the Orioles liked Santana "quite a bit" before coming to terms with Jimenez, signifying that they were willing to give up the 17th overall pick in next year's draft to secure one of the two top starters.
Jimenez will join Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Bud Norris and Wei-Yin Chen in the team's rotation, replacing Jason Hammel, who signed with the Cubs. The Orioles have been hesitant to spend any money on the free agent market in recent years, so the addition of Jimenez will serve as a big relief to a fanbase that has been waiting a long time for a major addition.
If Jimenez's deal is in the $48-50 million range, it will be close in value to deals signed earlier this offseason by Ricky Nolasco (4-years, $49MM with the Twins) and Matt Garza (4 years, $50 million with the Brewers).