Ubaldo Jimenez agreed to a deal that is reportedly worth $50 million over four years.
Jimenez joins a rotation that includes Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris.
Is the addition of Jimenez enough for the Orioles to become a major factor in the American League East? If I were a betting man, I'd say no. I'd still put Baltimore behind Boston, New York and Tampa Bay in baseball's toughest division.
I've never been a big believer in Jimenez. Yes, he went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts with Cleveland last year. Yes, he pitched like an ace down the stretch and was one of the keys to the Indians getting into the playoffs as a wild-card team.
However, this is a pitcher who has never been consistent. Even last year in a "good season," Jimenez was all over the map. He was 7-5 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP his first 20 starts. League average at best. He salvaged that with a red-hot finish over his final 12 outings, going 6-4 with a 1.72 ERA.
Jimenez' best season was 2010 with the Colorado Rockies, when he went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA. But again, a closer look reveals his inconsistency. Over his first 14 starts of that year, Jimenez enjoyed the best stretch of his career. He went 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA.
But look at his last 19 starts in 2010: 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. For a National League starter, that's worse than league average.
In 2011 and 2012, Jimenez went a combined 19-30 with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Basically, he was brutal for two full seasons.
What it comes down to is this: Jimenez pitched like an ace for 14 games with the Rockies at the start of 2010. Then, he stunk for three full calendar years. From the last half of 2010 through the first half of 2013, he was a below-average starter. Finally, he pitched like an ace for 12 games with the Indians at the end of last season.
Which Jimenez do you think will show up in Baltimore? I think his three years of badness outweigh his 26 good starts, which were three years apart. Twenty-six good starts in four years. That's not even a full season. That's not the stuff top-of-the-rotation pitchers are made of.
If I were an Orioles fan, I wouldn't get too excited about this signing. I don't see Jimenez having much success facing the stacked lineups in Boston and New York.