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]