Jul 9, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) delivers in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

At 17-20 Million, Is Ubaldo Jimenez Outside of Blue Jays Price Range?

Sheesh, now I know what Alex Anthopoulous is a bit hesitant to pull the trigger on a free agent to address the Toronto Blue Jays pitching needs.

In his weekly mailbag for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Paul Hoynes was asked about the possible landing spot for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. He accurately states that the Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Arizona Diamondbacks, all of whom have holes in their rotations and all of whom have yet to fill them. However, after hearing his discussion about cost, one would have to take a step back for a moment.

The last thing I heard, is that he wanted $17 million to $20 million per year over a four-year deal. That’s not going to happen in Cleveland.

Yup, the cost of a number bottom two or decent number three starter is going to cost four years and possibly $20 million. Seems about fair doesn’t it?

Now, in fairness, the four-years certainly fits into Toronto’s desire to avoid long-term deals, but $17-$20 million may be a bit rich for a pitcher that has been inconsistent over the three and a half seasons prior to 2013 and still walks nearly four batters a game. However, these are the days we currently live in, choosing between spending big on mediocrity and hoping for improvement or standing pat and hoping for improvement. It has all the makings of a no-win situation.

Of course, Ubaldo Jimenez has been quite durable and his 2013 season was a revelation for him personally. And who knows, maybe something finally clicked for Jimenez, knowing that he was hitting the open market and that he needed a push to get there. But to me, and any self-respecting skeptic on the planet, it becomes hard for me to imagine the Blue Jays investing so much on what is basically just a strong second-half.

1st Half 7 4 4.56 19 98.2 94 53 50 13 53 94 1.490 8.6 1.77
2nd Half 6 5 1.82 13 84.0 69 22 17 3 27 100 1.143 10.7 3.70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/1/2014.

If the Blue Jays are willing to commit $17 to $20 million a year on a pitcher, which could possibly usurp Mark Buehrle ($19 million) as the top paid pitcher on the roster, then Alex Anthopoulos would likely make a strong run at Masahiro Tanaka first. Even then, can we really see Anthopoulos striking this deal?

No, Ubaldo Jimenez would be a tremendous gamble for a team that has no room to fail. He could still be a viable target for Toronto, but only at a price that makes much more sense.

And given the interest in the Yankees in his services, especially if they fail to land Tanaka themselves, that price isn’t likely coming down any time soon.

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  • fmradioguy

    When an unproven Japanese import without one major league inning pitched is likely to get at least $15 million a year, any under 30 starter with any sort of reasonable major league success should justifiably expect to be paid more. That pricey qualifying offer for JJ is starting to look like it would have been the better option afterall.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      The lack of supply is definitely raising the prices all around. Johnson’s qualifying offer certainly looks a lot better now in hindsight.

  • BlueJayMatt

    It makes sense to me that he would be asking for $17 – 20M over 4 years but might not expect to get it. Would he sign for 4 years $14 or 15M? 3 years $17M? His market isn’t strong because of the draft pick compensation attached to him, something that is an advantage for the Jays. Losing the 45th draft pick doesn’t hurt so much if you think you can give him the QO and get the 35th pick in a few years time.

  • Paul Miller

    I would rather see if Garza would bite at $17-20 per for 4 years as he doesn’t have a draft pick attached to give up, and is proven to be much more consistent. (other then injuries of course)

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