Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays Best Hope For The Starting Rotation Is….


Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation could find hope and glory in one man in 2014, free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. He has what the Jays need in a top-rate hurler.

Jimenez, 30, seems like, as my tailor says “a perfect fit” for pitching in the Jays’ home park, the Rogers Centre. The Rogers Centre is a hitter’s field. In 2013, it led the MLB in an interesting stat… “the park factor.” The Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road. A rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter. Below 1.000 favors the pitcher. The Rogers Centre led MLB in doubles (1.476) and third in home runs (1.289). Trust me, those two numbers are high and the Rogers Centre is a real hitters park. If one pitches at Rogers, one needs a pitcher who does not get dinged for copious home runs.

Jimenez is such a pitcher. He only gave up 16 home runs in 2013. In comparison, R. A. Dickey gave up 36 and Mark Buehrle surrendered 24.

Jimenez also throws heat, striking out 8 to 9 a game. It is a nice thing to have a pitcher who gives you three innings worth of outs where the ball does not go beyond home plate.

Another positive thing about Jimenez is his high ground ball out-rate (43.9%). Keeping the ball on the ground and safely away from the fences is a good thing, especially now that the Jays double play threat has increased with second baseman Ryan Goins. With Jimenez on the mound, a lot of first base runners would be jogging to their dugout and no further.

Jimenez’s career ERA is a respectable 3.92. With a decent defence in the field, which the Jays now have, that stat would most likely go down. Jimenez, walks four batters and gives up about eight hits a game. That is a negative point. Jimenez needs good fielders behind him.

Jimenez is also capable of pitching over 200 innings and starting well-over 30 games. Considering the injuries last year, durability and putting less stress on the Jays’ bullpen would be a welcome thing.

Like all good things in life, Jimenez will not come cheap. It will cost Toronto a draft pick since Jimenez refused his former club’s option on his contract. Oh, he will also cost a lot of filthy lucre. As the kids say, yolo. As they say in the schmeta business, what price matches a good fit? Indeed, what is hope and glory worth?

 

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  • Justin Jay

    I like Jimenez, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Santana get signed. I’d rather see Jimenez

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      I can’t help but wonder if Santana’s sinker is for real. Even with it, he’s still home run prone and would be a waste of money at Rogers imo.

      • Justin Jay

        I think the mistake is a lot of people are referring to his 2FB as a SNK. Brooks Baseball seems to have that problem. If you’re a sinkerball pitcher, it’s clear cut. They’re essentially the same pitch, but you KNOW who’s got a legit sinker, and who’s got a 2FB. Derek Lowe, Brandon Webb, and Tim Hudson are all sinkerball pitchers. You know it’s coming and you’re still burying the ball into the ground when you make contact. Santana is not that guy.

        I think mistaking a 2FB for Sinker is almost like saying somebody throws a knuckleball when really they’re throwing a knucklecurve. Both have little movement, just arc differently and a knucklecurve has a more distinct path of travel. Sinkers literally move fast like a 2FB with tailing action and then drop down almost like a splitter. For some pitchers, it’s about the grip. Some pitchers, it’s about the hard downward spin.

        And I agree with you that Ervin playing in Toronto is not a good fit. I would much rather see Jimenez first, Garza second. You don’t lose much between getting one of those 2. Garza is more consistent, but a headcase. That’s the ONLY reason I would take him second.

  • brad

    I’m just happy it wasn’t Tanaka…..

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    Lots to like about K/GB guys like Jimenez. Great choice.

    • Andrew van Laar

      The thought of him is starting to grow on me. At first I was very anti-Jimenez but I think I am warming up a bit. TO be honest, I am not thrilled with any of the remaining FAs but alas something needs to be done and if he is the best option available, then so be it.

      • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

        Hopefully all of our pro-Jimenez propaganda has helped convert you.

        • Andrew van Laar

          maybe… however Hitler was a propaganda master as well… and yes I am not above using that example to describe you Jimenez lovers :P

  • Jamie Miles

    Are we just going to forget 2012 happened with Santana and Ubaldo. I mean seriously, both pitchers had ERAs north of 5.00. Ervin gave up 39 bombs in ’12 and Ubaldo walked 95 batters in 176.2 IP. His improvement year he lowered his walks to 80 182.2 IP. Garza has had better productivity, but has been hurt the past two seasons. Just stand pat and go with what we have.

    • Andrew van Laar

      I like this guy ^^^ Finally someone on my side!

  • Eric

    Nice article. Someone no one is talking about however is Scott Baker. He is always hurt but when pitching he can be quietly effective. Maybe on a minor league deal? Any comments? Does it make sense? Or how about Paul Maholm. Ik he gives up homers but you never know he could adjust

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  • Gary Kimbrel

    Santana and Jimenez both have a lot of risk with them, but a less risky innings eater would probably get destroyed in the AL East. Arroyo might be OK, he might help you get to the playoffs, but he likely wouldn’t be the guy you need once there. Remember this years playoffs? It was all pitcher duels. We’re already gambling on risky players like Morrow, Cabrera, Lawrie and Rasmus are no locks, lots of prospects have been traded, lets let it ride. Go for the high upside Jimenez, without the home run risk of Santana.

    I’d be ok with 4 years for Ubaldo because after 2015, when all these contracts come off the books and we go through a “mini-rebuild”, SP prospects will be coming up but we’ll still need a core to build the rotation around. Next offseason, Cabrera and Janssen (among others) will be coming off the books, and we’ll have cheap in-house replacements, so I would like to see Happ’s option declined (6.5MM) and another SP signed. Masterson, De La Rosa, Shields, Scherzer, Bailey will all be available. Jimenez and another signing would be great with Hutch, Stroman, Nolin, Sanchez, Drabek, Redmond around. Plus, the 2015 rotay would be Dickey, Morrow, Jimenez, Buehrle, addition.

  • Frank Beardss

    Jimenez isn’t going to be signing with the bluejays, they simply will not open their wallets and get someone that is decent. Expect the jays to finish 30+ games out of first this year and for their season to be over by june.

  • Paul Miller

    I know there is risk for all of the top 3 remaining Pitchers, and the talk always seems to be about Ubaldo or Santana. What about Garza? He is the only one out of the 3 that is PROVEN in the AL East, and won’t cost a pick. Obviously this will drive his price up, but wouldn’t he be the less risk out of the 3?

    Thoughts?

    • Gary Kimbrel

      Well, Garza does have injury risk, however we have a lot better depth this year. No question though, when he’s healthy, he’s more reliable than the other two. When he was in the AL East, he gave up some home runs, what with all the hitters parks and stacked offenses, and one would assume that will only get worse with age. He’ll be more expensive, for his consistency and not being attached to a draft pick, and he’s known to have real attitude issues. Apparently he can be a real… insert any word. I dunno, I say let the Dbacks, Halos, Mariners fight over him. Let’s just pray the Yankee’s don’t get in on another starter, cause then we’re all royally ..in a worse position.