On Wednesday, October 31 the Cleveland Indians confirmed what many across the city speculated, picking up starter Ubaldo Jimenez's 2013 club option but declining designated hitter Travis Hafner and starter Roberto Hernandez's club options. Hafner and Hernandez will now head towards free agency. More on those two another day though. Today I wish to discuss Ubaldo Jimenez.
If you pay attention to Indians baseball, you could retell Jimenez's story sleeping. The Cleveland Indians pulled off a blockbuster deal at the 2011 Trade Deadline, sending four minor leaguers including two top pitching prospects to the Colorado Rockies for what the Tribe believed a number one starter Ubaldo Jimenez. The newly acquired rotation arm proceeded to pitch like a poor fifth starter, going 13-21 with a 5.32 ERA over 42 starts in his first year-and-a-half as an Indian.
Sure, spread across his 13 wins and eight no decisions Ubaldo Jimenez provided glimpses of brilliance. However, these welcoming performances come far too rarely. Instead we Clevelanders remain witnesses to Jimenez's big league career suffering a tailspin. His 2012 numbers for ERA, losses, and earned runs allowed represent personal lows at the MLB level. This breaks career lows in all three categories set the previous season, 2011.
Admittedly the Cleveland Indians could only do so much regarding Jimenez. He doesn't maintain enough MLB experience to qualify for free agency. Declining his $5.75 million option would have led to the Indians and Jimenez entering the arbitration process.
The Indians' GM Chris Antonetti explained to the media, "There was also a buyout associated with the option. So the net value was $4.75 million. Had we declined the option, and tendered him a contract through the arbitration process, he would've earned far more than $4.75 million."
Personally Antonetti's explanation sets off metaphorical alarms in my head. You could argue Ubaldo Jimenez was the worst starter in the AL last season. I mean he topped the charts in losses, wild pitches, and stolen bases allowed. Plus Jimenez placed second in walks given up. Yet arbitration would've earned him over $4.75 million. Sad, right? Too bad Tribe management can't single-handedly revise the model for players' salaries.
Ultimately while I'm not thrilled about the Cleveland Indians exercising Ubaldo Jimenez's 2013 club option, I understand the decision. The Indians chose the most logical choice from the unappealing courses of actions available. Hopefully Ubaldo Jimenez can silence my negativity and get his career back on track.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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