|Hudson was Plan A|
When the season ended, the plan was reported to be to sign Tim Hudson to serve as the staff veteran presence in place of Jason Hammel and Scott Feldman. However, Hudson signed with the Giants in mid-November. Plan B reportedly became wooing Scott Kazmir to the club. The Oakland Athletics wound up winning that one with Kazmir being inked to a 2 year deal in early December. Plan C was then to perhaps focus on a rehab player like Gavin Floyd along with a top flight closer like Grant Balfour, but Floyd signed with the Braves mid-December and Balfour had a weird issue involving his physical after he came to terms with the Orioles. At this point, the club was reported as being interested once more in spending the rest of their surplus payroll on a big ticket starter. That starter was Bronson Arroyo. He wound up signing with the Diamondbacks on similar terms expressing a desire to pitch in the National League as well as a desire to avoid any physicals in Baltimore. Plan E though then showed up when A.J. Burnett decided that he would pitch. The Orioles were heavily involved (or not depending on who and when you believe), but he signed a comfortable deal with the Phillies. Plan F appears to have been Jimenez. This also matches Duquette's words in how the pitchers they have targeted were targeted by a half dozen other teams and the club simply lost out to others. It may well be that this plan was somewhere below F given there was a lot of heat to rumors on pitchers like Bartolo Colon.
Apparently, going with what was at best Plan F is what some writers and fans refer to this team being in it to win it. I would suggest though that the team had a payroll amount of 100 MM to fulfill and finally wound up with a way to achieve that payroll. Yes, sometimes you do fall into a wonderfully, lucky situation that was completely not your intent. The 2012 season kind of springs to mind. That said, I doubt whether Ubaldo Jimenez is a prime example of serendipity. The Indians could have signed him to a similar deal without a loss of a draft pick (which is worth about 20 MM), but long ago determined that they had no interest in investing long term in Jimenez due to the high maintenance of his mechanics. That should be telling. If it is not telling, then maybe Jimenez being the fifth or sixth or seventh invitation to the dance might be of some concern.
|230 Fifth Hot Dog with Caviar|
This off season, the caviar consisted of Masahiro Tanaka, Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin Soo Choo, and Brian McCann. The Orioles passed on all of those players and never even inquired on them as far as we know. Instead, they were quite active on the low end market. In the past couple months, that market has yielded the team players like Liam Hendriks, Suk-min Yoon, Michael Almanzar, and David Lough being added to the 40 man roster. In all likelihood, these players will not be exceptional, but that is the grace of acquiring these kinds of players. Everyone agrees on them being unexceptional, meaning they cost little to acquire and little to dispose of. Similar to previous commodities like Miguel Gonzalez and Nate McLouth, these guys might actually be useful.
However, with Jimenez, the team decided to move on the territory between the caviar and the hot dogs. They decided to pay for a mid-level player. At 4 years and around 50 MM, the cost is appropriate. Jimienez costs the team a draft pick that was worth about 20 MM and his projected performance over the life of the contract was suggested at 75 MM. He is capable of being a 2 slot pitcher, but has rarely ever been a 2 slot pitcher. At worst, he is a backend arm, which the team has several. In the end, that is where I disagree with the move. Jimenez is an average pitcher capable of very good and very bad things within the same season. He is not exceptional. Exceptional players are not upended by a qualifying offer. Yes, he is better than Bud Norris and probably better than Miguel Gonzalez, but I remain unconvinced that this expenditure has done anything to change the fortune of this ball club. He simply is not a transformative talent.
Also, think beyond his numbers for a second. Jimenez was with the Indians for a couple seasons. They worked through his high maintenance mechanics and got him on a roll into the 2013 playoffs. This off season, they saw his price drop down to a level equivalent to Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, and Bronson Arroyo. They could sign him without losing a draft pick at a cost perhaps slightly above what the Orioles paid for Jimenez. Instead, it has been reported that the Indians had not engaged in negotiations with Jimenez in weeks and simply no longer had any interest in him. Maybe the Orioles have things figured out better than the Indians do. That is the hope in Baltimore. Or maybe the team has just figured out how to deftly achieve absolute zero in terms of expectations, which makes any notable investment appear as a much greater coup.
Anyway, here are the differences in the 40 man roster since the last time we posted in December:
Ubaldo Jimenez RHP
Troy Patton LHP restricted
Suk-min Yoon RHP
Michael Almanzar 3B
David Lough OF
Cord Phelps 2B
Danny Valencia 3B
List of Depot Articles:
Running Out of Options; Jimenez Makes Sense
Interview with Yonhap News' Jee-ho Yoo on Suk-min Yoon
Relievers Paid the Same (includes brief scouty report on Yoon)
The Low Down on the Orioles Rule 5 Selections (evaluator report of Almanzar)
Can David Lough be a Cheap Version of Nate McLouth
The Illusion of a Competitive Spring
Lough et al. Replacing McLouth et al.
Comparing Cord Phelps and Ryan Flaherty
The Orioles' 40 man roster with options:
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