MLB News: “No chance” Tribe offers Jiménez a multi-year deal

Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer echoes recent sentiments at WFNY, stating that there is “no chance” that the Cleveland Indians will offer starting pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez a multi-year contract this offseason. This news comes in the wake of the San Francisco Giants setting the bar for free agent starting pitchers by inking Tim Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million deal earlier this week.

On Thursday, our own TD explained that if the deal provided to Lincecum, a pitcher who is far removed from his back-to-back Cy Young seasons, is used as a measuring stick, there is little to no chance that the Indians can afford to pay two pitchers who performed much better over the course of the 2013 season.

“After watching him carry the rotation down the stretch coupled with his AL-best 1.71 post-All Star break ERA, I have carried no illusions that Ubaldo would return to Cleveland,” said TD. “Go ahead and tender him the $13 million one year offer, watch him decline it, and take your first round draft pick as compensation.”

The deadline for the Indians to make such an offer to Jiménez is 5 p.m. ET on the fifth day after the final game of the World Series. Jiménez would then have seven days to accept or decline. If he accepts, he’ll stay with the Indians on a one-year deal worth $14 million—a calculated risk that the Indians would have to stomach if executed by the player. If he signs with another team, the Indians would then receive a draft pick at the end of the first round in 2014.

If anything, this deal shows that the cost of even mediocre pitching will be higher than the $8 million player option that Jiménez will soon turn down. The Tribe could very well find themselves trying to find lighting in a bottle once again, doing so through low-cost avenues as they did with Scott Kazmir a season ago. If this plays out as expected, two of the Indians’ best four pitchers in 2013—as measured by WAR—will be playing for different teams in 2014.

[Related: Brian Sabean messed it up for the rest of us]

  • turnercr

    Using your original argument then. INFLATION crap argument. If you account for inflation, how much LESS did Dolan spend from $93M in 2001 to $80 last year? He got tired of footing the bills for the players Jacobs had signed, let them go and we went from 4th highest payroll to the bottom of the league. So don’t give me “small market BS” this is NOT tampa bay

  • nj0

    I had forgotten about that.

  • Steve

    And regarding #3, I think that’s the better move too, but in the past when the Indians have ended up short on FA offers, quite a bit of the fanbase pulls out the “Dolan was too cheap” card. I think, for the time being, that this team should keep all negotiations on the down low, and only say something when it’s good news, like how they surprised us with Bourn.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Well Ubaldo’s pitching demonstrated that Colorado was right in not offering him the same kinds of deals as Tulo and CarGo. Besides no pitcher in Colorado should ever be expected to be paid as if they are the best in the game. It just won’t happen.

  • nj0

    I’m not really a “look at the opponent” guy either, but do think if you pitch 10 games vs. the Red Sox compared to ten vs. the White Sox there’s going to be some difference. Guess my point is, if the question is $50M+ for a guy, I’m looking at every little detail I can.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I do agree with not saying anything until it’s happened I’ve been word out with “Indians speak” the last seven years or so.

  • Steve

    I dunno, he put up a 133 ERA+ in Colorado, they finally found a pitcher who had success there. You’d think when you finally figured it out, you’d hold on to him. But as you said, they ended up correct.

  • turnercr

    What choice did he have? The second he buys the team he comes in and sells Thome, Lofton, Omar etc etc? He had no choice but to pay them. He obviously didn’t want to keep that high payroll or he wouldn’t have let Thome walk, traded R Alomar and slowly let this team fall from a annual powerhouse that had top talent to a disgraceful baseball team. I’m not saying you HAVE to spend to win, look at Tampa. But don’t tell me that Dolan is doing everything he can to make this team successful

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh well yes in that case the color of the Sox is important. $50M? Three words: No way Jose!

  • Steve

    Yeah, I get the “we made great offers to Beltran and Willingham!” strategy, but we’re still sitting here with Duncan and Cunningham no matter how great your offer was.

  • turnercr

    I’ve gotta get outta here. But this was a great discussion my friend. In the end we’ll agree to disagree. I think the Dolans are bums and wish the Jacobs had never left. I truly truly believe that had the Jacobs stuck around (or had the Dolans follwed the Jacobs model) we would have WS title by now. In the end you and I can agree on one thing. We both love our Indians and want to see them succeed. If the Dolans go out and spend some money to aquire legitimate talent I’ll eat my own words about them. But as of now they have a history of being stingy. If they prove me wrong I’ll be happier than hell. GO TRIBE!!

  • nj0

    What you have against inflation?

    So you’re saying that Cleveland is not a small market? All those numbers about population, TV revenue, etc. are just figments of our collective imagination?

    How much should the Indians be spending on payroll? How many tens of millions are the Dolan’s pocketing every year?

  • nj0

    Have a good weekend. Go Tribe.

  • Steve

    He didn’t “sell” any of those guys. All three played through the end of their contracts here. Lofton finished in 2001, with an 89 OPS+ at 34 years old. We know the Thome story, they thought they had a deal, but he was just shaking them down for more money, but they kept him and tried to build around him. Omar stayed through 2004, despite the down years, they still kept him. And the Alomar trade was an excellent bit of foresight, too bad Escobar blew his knee out.

    I won’t say that Dolan is doing everything he can to be successful, mainly because I’m not privy to the details, but you’ve moved the goalposts quite a bit with that statement.

  • nj0

    This is exactly what happened before we traded CC. They made him their best offer (think it was a couple years at $20M), he said no, and then we ended up trading him.

    I clearly remember pointing out to friends that we had offered him a contract and my friends just scoffing at the “offer”. Can’t win for losing.

  • Steve

    This is the elephant in the room. And part of the reason Jacobs and Dolan are viewed so differently. Jacobs, whether through excellent foresight or luck (so surely some combination of both) got out of the game just as the TV deals were becoming the bigger factor. For all the people clamoring for Jacobs’ spending ways, there’s no way he outbids teams with a TV deal about a quarter the size of the big markets.

  • mgbode

    I could see Kazmir getting a 2yr/$20mil contract on the open market, but I have a hard time seeing him live up to that contract.

  • turnercr

    No I was just saying you used inflation to defend the Dolans compared to the $55M in the ’90s but how can you defend $93M down to $80M? If anything due to inflation we should be at least $100M. And yes we ARE a small market team. But we are NOT the tampa bay rays. You can make money (even while actually spending some) in Cleveland. That’s my point. I wasn’t saying we aren’t a small market. I’m just saying quit letting them use that as an excuse

  • nj0

    The landscape has changed so much that it really is sort of pointless looking at how things were 20 years ago.

    I understand that it’s just people pining for the good old days when the Indians were one of the best, but it’s really unfair. Things are just so different. Sad, but true.

    And a bigger point: there are a lot of legit reasons to criticize the Indians front office. You don’t have to claim that they’re willfully underspending to find things to gripe about (if that’s your thing).

  • whosevelt

    There is only one thing we disagree on – whether the Rays have “found a formula” that allows them to compete every year. The inequity of baseball means that small market teams are at a disadvantage. There is no corresponding strategy that can replace that – if the Rays revolutionized the use of statistics or baseball camps in the Dominican or steroids, then other teams with more money will pay more for those things, the same way they pay more for players.

    What the Rays actually did is they strung together two windows, which puts them at the top of the heap, small market wise. If I were a Rays fan, I’d be happy that we beat the odds, but as in Indians fan, it’s depressing that we are actually doing pretty well as small market teams go.

  • Harv 21

    Here’s the point I was trying to make: the Jacobs took a broke org and invested a fortune of their own $ into it from the ground up. They hired Hank Peters and funded things like new farm teams that did not exist before. They parlayed the great young players their new system started churning out or smartly acquiring – Belle, Thome, Ramirez, Vizquel, Lofton – with a new stadium into a cash cow. And then they sold high to the Dolans. It took money to make the money churned out by the sell-out crowds that came to see players who will be mentioned as HOF candidates.

    I know peeps who worked for and with JVJ. The Jacobs were not generous spendthrifts. But they could not have gotten that train rolling without a huge initial shell-out of their own fortune. I don’t think the Dolans have the moolah to do what the Jacobs’ did, to fund a fundamental re-thinking of what is here now.

  • nj0

    Joe Posnanski did an article (which I can’t find online anymore) where he broke down MLB payrolls and found out that all teams spending falls in a pretty small range as a percentage of team revenue. I wish I could find it because it basically showed that what the Indians spend is in line, based on how much they’re making, with every other club.

    So my point: yes, I agree that the Indians could probably afford a payroll of $100M or more if (big, big IF) attendance was consistently more like 80-90% capacity rather than 40% or whatever it is.

    If there was more revenue, I believe Dolan would spend it. The problem is that the attendance is not there which means less spending which leads to worse teams which leads to worse attendance and so on and so forth.

  • nj0

    Kazmir was a nice surprise, but he really wasn’t all that great. Some people are acting like he’s a #1/2 when he’s more like a #5.

  • nj0

    Agreed. But I think the new CBA has done some good things to improve competition. Draft slotting means that the best talent will be going to the worst teams, QO means that when you lose a player to free agency you at least get something, etc.

    For a small market team to compete, it means always always always having to stay ahead of the curve.

  • CB Everett

    I agree on timing, but I suspect they’re capable of simultaneous courting (and like you said with Tito’s charm, it’s another dynamic). Plus as an aside, I never bought into the idea that in making a modest/slightly under market offer that we’re just getting played or used as a piggyback to a better offer (i.e. Thome). We take our best shot, and if people want to throw more money at him, then that’s what the market dictates.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t remember much if anything about Ubaldo until that breakout season when he was an All-Star I just know after that he was never the same.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Well based on $5M for Sizemore and what was it $7M for Myers I think I could live with up to $10M for Kazmir.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I hope they learned to not answer like that it does no one any good.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I have less problems with the CC decision then I do with Lee and Victor.

  • Steve

    Even before that year, he was a 124 ERA+ guy, averaging 200 IP per 162 games, and was the epitome of great health. That he had to pitch like Bob Gibson before he recognized nationally was a shame.

  • Steve

    I think part of it is guys like Hoynes and Ocker (I’ve expressed more of this above), portraying them in a negative light about why they didn’t go after those guys. It seems unless a big public offer is made, those two act like there is no talks between the sides. I really think Hoynes and Ocker have a huge negative effect on the PR for the team.

  • nj0

    Cliff Lee’s career has always been a puzzle to me. Everyone wants him, yet nobody does. He’s an ace, yet the trade packages teams have gotten for him have been lackluster at best. The Phillies gave him a huge payday, but now even they’re supposedly up for trading him. Teams want him, but aren’t willing to pay the price to get him. It’s a weird, contradictory thing. He’s like the really hot girl in high school that the boys adore but don’t ask out.

  • cmm13

    Good point on his feelings during that offer but in counterpoint I think he’s in a much different spot right now.

    He was on top of the world at the time the Rockies low balled him, coming off a Cy Young season and expected much much more.

    He’s fought for his career since then showing a second half of a season of improvement not exactly Cy Young caliber.

    Getting a MULTI year offer from a club he’s comfortable with and a pitching coach who knows how to get out of him what he has left might be worth taking less.

  • cmm13

    Yep, damned if you do.

  • nj0

    You really can never say enough bad things about Cleveland sportswriters (minus those here, of course).

  • Steve

    I certainly hope so, but never hold my breath when it comes to athletes taking less.

  • Harv 21

    another important dynamic here: having dealt with him for 2 years the Tribe is in a better position than any other team to accuraretly evaluate his chances at sustaining recent success. He’s been all over the place the last few seasons and Cleveland has the inside scoop regarding the soundness of his body, his mechanics and his head. His other suitors will be relying on video, stats and second-hand information. Whether Tito and Mickey Calloway feel the second half of ’13 is a house of cards or sustainable, they will set a value based on the best info available anywhere. They may have every good reason to believe that what less-informed folks deem a “low-ball” offer is in fact one that reflects the best evaluation of the risk.

  • Rick Manning

    Let someone else overpay Ubaldo, I dont think its any coincidence that he pitched the way he did in the 2nd half of a contract year. Make him a qualifying offer, take the draft pick and let someone else pay him 15 million a year when he regresses back to being a replacement level pitcher.

  • Steve

    “before opinion becomes fact and watching their play begins to cloud your judgment”

    Their job is to report objectively on the team, that’s a huge point of journalism. If they can’t do an important part of their job, then why are they allowed to write about the team?

  • woofersus

    All the way through mid-August IIRC.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, I didn’t mean the system is broken. I mean we suck at it. (I’m hopeful that we may have turned the corner recently from looking at the lower levels of our farm system, but between Sabathia and Lindor is an awful lot of “blech”)

  • Ed Carroll

    Hoynes is pretty clueless. Usually unable to the see the big picture or to report beyond what’s in front of his nose.

  • Ed Carroll

    The Indians WILL offer multi-year deals to BOTH Ubaldo and Kazmir. I don’t expect either to take them, but they will be offered.

    People need to realize that letting free agents go is not inherently a bad thing. The idea that Cleveland is “a farm system for the major markets” is false. Let other teams overpay for guys. Flexibility is way better.

    If you’d rather watch the same players year in and year out grow old with the team, sorry, you’re likely in the wrong sport, and for sure the wrong market. Don’t get attached. There are only two players on this team as built who should be considered untouchable: Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana. Everyone else could be had for the price.

  • TOJ

    People HAVE stopped watching. Ratings down. Interest among those that don’t drink Citrucel down.

    MLB has paved its own road to irrelevancy and they don’t care. Amazing.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, I don’t disagree with your point above. It just reminds me that free agency is a store we can’t afford, and a fully stocked farm system is necessary to avoid it.

  • woofersus

    Well there’s no doubt they’ll talk and numbers will be discussed, but we’ll probably never know the particulars if a deal doesn’t get done. The only official number we’ll get is the 13 million qualifying offer once they’re sure he’s leaving.

  • Adam Cantalamessa

    I’m ok with Ubaldo not coming back. Hes going to cost to much and i dont think he’ll be that great next year anyway so let him walk and then you can take that money and invest it somewhere else like a + .300 BA hitter. If we lose a good pitcher its not the end of the world thats just how baseball works. Trust me the Indians are moving in the right direction Mr. Dolan would not have spent as much money as he did last year just to stop now. We will be spending more money in FA. The idea is to spend smart and i think they think Ubaldo is to much of a risk to offer a multi year contract and i agree with it. I say let him walk

  • Max Forstag

    I’d deal Asdrubal and whoever else you’d want for Shelby Miller!