After doing almost nothing the entire offseason, the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a 4 year contract today. Is this a good signing? He rebounded nicely last year after several down seasons, but he has been wildly inconsistent.
In 2010, he was on his way to having one of the all-time great seasons, going 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA before the All-Star Break, but finishing 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA after a struggling down the stretch. He went 19-30 over the next 3 seasons, before going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 2013. Those are good numbers, but it is the splits that make the case that he's ready for a strong 2014. 2013 Pre-All Star: 7-4, 4.56 ERA, 94 SO, 53 BB Post-All Star: 6-5, 1.82 ERA, 100 SO, 27 BB September: 4-0, 1.09 ERA, 51 SO, 7 BB
If the final few months of his 2013 season were an aberration, he sure picked the right time to do that.
Rank: Post All-Star (60+ IP)
ERA: 1.82 (3rd)
SO: 100 (2nd)
SO/BB: 3.70 (21st)
September 2013 (25+ IP)
ERA: 1.02 (3rd)
SO: 51 (2nd)
SO/BB: 7.29 (6th)
When you put all of his numbers together, he was one of the two best pitchers in baseball last September, along with Kris Medlen. He was constantly pitching in high pressure games the entire month, as the Indians were fighting for their lives every day. If the Orioles are counting on Ubaldo to be the ace on a playoff team, that might seem like a stretch, but he has the talent.
The Orioles were ranked 27th in ERA for their starting rotation in 2013, after being 21st in 2012. It might not be ideal to give Ubaldo Jimenez a 4 year deal, but they had to do something. He was at the top of his game when it counted the most last year, and he might be ready to finally put it all together for a full season.