The enigma that is Ubaldo Jimenez had another rocky outing Tuesday night in the Cleveland Indians' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Jimenez lasted just four innings and gave up eight runs. It's the fifth time in his last 21 starts that the right-hander has given up seven or more runs.
Jimenez has struggled all year, but he has been particularly ineffective since the All-Star break. In seven starts during the season's second half, Jimenez is 1-5 with an 8.83 ERA.
Those are the kind of numbers that typically get a pitcher removed from a rotation, if not sent to the minor leagues. Nothing like that will apparently befall Jimenez for a couple of reasons.
First, the Indians don't have any obvious candidates to replace Jimenez in the rotation, although they are adding Roberto Hernandez to the rotation Wednesday in place of Chris Seddon. Second, the Indians gave up four minor league prospects, including the organization's top two pitching prospects, in the trade that brought Jimenez to Cleveland from the Colorado Rockies last summer.
In all likelihood, Jimenez will remain in the rotation for the rest of the season as the Indians continue to try to fix whatever mechanical issues are preventing him from pitching like the No. 1 starter the Indians thought they were getting at the time of the trade.
The Indians also have a decision to make on Jimenez going forward. They hold a $5.75 million club option on Jimenez's contract for next year. The buyout on the option is $1 million. The team is always very judicious in how it spends its money, and while $5.75 million isn't an outrageous figure for a starting pitcher, it's a considerable amount of money for someone who has struggled for the pat season and a half.
Still, even with Jimenez pitching so poorly, it would be a bigger surprise if the team didn't pick up the club option for 2013 than if it did.