No player in Cleveland had a bigger turn-around than Ubaldo
Is Ubaldo the next to sign?
Highly coveted Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees agreed to a seven-year $155 million deal on Wednesday. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the details. It’s a record amount given to an incoming Japanese player under the new posting system that caps team transfer fees at $20 million.
But with Tanaka off the free agent board, this now means that pieces should fall into play soon for the remaining top pitchers. This includes likely departing Cleveland Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez as well as Kansas City’s Ervin Santana and Texas’ Matt Garza.
Today is actually Jiménez’s 30th birthday. He had an outstanding final four-fifths of 2013 with the Tribe. In his 27 starts from April 29-onward, he went 13-7 with a 2.61 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 165.2 innings. He arguably was baseball’s best pitcher in the second half.
This followed nearly two full seasons of sub-standard pitching, among the worst for any full-time starter. That’s what makes his free agency status fairly intriguing in this rapidly changing market place. Reportedly, he is requesting $14 million per year for multiple seasons.
Jiménez declined Cleveland’s one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million. That means any signing team will have to forfeit their highest available draft pick for the right to sign him in free agency. That caveat means there’s a small but non-zero possibility he could somehow find his way back to Cleveland.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.