Archive for the ‘Ubaldo Jimenez’ Category

MLB: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Which Ubaldo Jimenez is for real? Is the guy who pitched well below replacement level for the better part of a year for real? Is the guy who nearly walked away with the National League Cy Young award in the first half of 2009 for real?

Is the guy who nearly lost his roster spot for the 2013 Indians for real? Is that guy, the guy who had his spot in the rotation skipped as the team looked to integrate Danny Salazar into their mix, is that who the Baltimore Orioles just signed for a reported four years and $50 million?

Or did they sign the guy who dug down and learned to live at 93 mph, instead of the 97 mph of his youth? The guy who learned that pitching inside is okay even if your fastball ain’t what it used to be, that getting ahead works wonders when your stuff is still pretty good. That guy? Because that guy was downright nasty in his final 13 starts of the year. He struck out 100 batters against just 27 walks in 84 innings. He allowed just three home runs and posted a 1.84 ERA.

If that guy’s real, the Orioles got a bargain. They got a number two style-starter at Ricky Nolasco prices. That’s nice work if you can get it.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

Despite Spring Training getting under way in mere weeks, a whole mess of starting pitchers are still sitting out there on the free agent market. The pitchers – good, bad, and indifferent – all sit in a holding pattern because of Masahiro Tanaka.

Once Tanaka signs, his contract helps define the type of deal available to those at the top of the free agent heap. From there, there is some cash to spread around for the filler-types and then minor league invites for those living below the Zito line.

But if we take stock of the long list of names still out there, how do we group them? If your team has the money, who do you hope ends up in your jersey of choice? Let us lift and separate these players in order of desirability in the proud internet tradition.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

There was a time when Ubaldo Jimenez was the best thing. He was the [Insert Awesome Pitcher's Name Here] of 2010, spawning GIFs in the nascent days of turning our entire world into one long animated yet soundless image. He threw harder than most guys with more movement than most guys – a deadly combination and treat for the eyes.

Unfortunately, Ubaldo could not match his performance over the first half of 2010. He was eventually traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians in 2011 as Cleveland made their first of two ill-fated first half charges. It looked like a good deal at the time for both sides, as Colorado received some well-regarded prospects and the Tribe picked up a potential ace on an attractive contract.

Not only did Jimenez fail to replicate the form of his 2009-2010 run of domination, when he posted more than 13 rWAR over 439 innings, he started looking like he might be a non-tender candidate. He was a below replacement-level starter for Cleveland across his first 40 or so starts in the American League.

As Cleveland geared up over the winter for a potential dash toward the playoffs, their rotation was the biggest question mark. What could they reasonably expect from the unpredicatable likes of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and the rest of a middling group of starters? More to the point: which Ubaldo would show up?

Over the last month of so, Cleveland has happily watched as the Ubaldo of old returned, leading the Tribe to within a half game of the AL Wild Card. Not a moment too soon, either.

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