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Jimenez voids option and is now a free agent

Jimenez voids option and is now a free agent
November 1, 2013
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The Indians announced today that they have exercised the 2014 club option ($8 million) on right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  Because of the parameters of his contract where if he were traded, his 2014 club option turned into a mutual option when he was traded from the Rockies to the Indians in July of 2011. As a result, Jimenez voided the contract and is now a free agent.

Jimenez, 29, went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for the Indians this season. He had the best second half (6-5, 1.82 ERA) of any pitcher in the American League and was a huge reason for the team's success down the stretch going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in September.

The Indians have a Monday deadline to make a 2014 qualifying offer, which is $14.1 million. They will surely offer one to him, but he is very likely to decline that as well. The qualifying offer ensures that the Indians net a pick as compensation at the end of the first round of the 2014 Draft if he signs elsewhere.

Jimenez is considered the top available starting pitcher in free agency and is going to have a long list of suitors. Because of his ability to be a top of the rotation starter - assuming he is given the qualifying offer and declines it - few teams will be concerned with losing a first round pick to sign him.

It remains to be seen what kind of contract Jimenez might get, but anything less than four years and $15 million a year seems very unlikely. In fact, when the free agent frenzy is over and the market plays out, he very well could end up with a multi-year deal in the $75-100 million range.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Walter
November 2, 2013 - 11:42 AM EDT
I wish Jimenez well. I think his asking price is higher than Indians will be able afford. Indians need to concentrate on extending Masterson and offer contract to Kazmir.

I know that agents try to tell players to avoid accepting qualify offers. But if a player signs the 1 yr qualify offer in 2014, when he becomes a FA agent again 15, than that team can no longer offer a qualify offer for 15?
Norm
November 1, 2013 - 6:50 PM EDT
I have disagreed with many IBI assessments of UJ over his tenure with the tribe but Tony is spot on with this one IMO. Teams will look at this ceiling, just as the Indians did when they traded for him. There are few pitchers with No. 1 ability regardless and he will be the best of the lot. Tony has it right!
Seth
November 1, 2013 - 3:27 PM EDT
Teams haven't been as myopic as they used to be when signing free agents. Ubaldo is not the "top" free agent pitcher available. He had a good 2013, but unfortunately for Ubaldo, 2012 and 2011 also happened. Ubaldo's a lot like Ervin Santana, who also had a horrible 2012 and had about an identical 2013 to Ubaldo. I'd be wary of both on any long-term deal and would bet that both do sign shorter deals with a larger AAV. The Angels might be one team I could see giving Ubaldo a stupid contact, but at some point you'd think even that team would need to stop ridiculously overpaying guys who are obvious risks to fail.
Norm
November 1, 2013 - 3:01 PM EDT
When all is said and done, UJ is neither the worst deal the Indians have made nor the best. The collective failure of the prospects traded to Colorado will have to be considered in retrospect.
Hermie13
November 1, 2013 - 11:32 AM EDT
If there were 25 Michael Wachas and Carlos Martinez's out there, it wouldn't be hard to get one....
shy
November 1, 2013 - 11:19 AM EDT
If I am going to give him a 3 yr contract, then I am going to start negotiating on the basis of his last 3 years performance, which is mediocre at best, so let him walk. There's 25 Michael Wachas, Carlos Martinez's out there ready to take his job. Find em Antonetti. that's YOUR job.
Hermie13
November 1, 2013 - 11:07 AM EDT
I'm not saying I disagree when you're saying he's the top SP on the market...but I'm sure a few teams would disagree. Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, and Tanaka all could be higher on some team's list than Ubaldo. Sure you could argue Ubaldo has the highest ceiling but also could argue he has the lowest floor.

Throw in the fact that David Price is likely going to be traded and I'd be surprised if Ubaldo got more than $60M. Think he's probably looking at a deal similar to Edwin Jackson. Think that QO is gonna hurt him some though.
Tony
November 1, 2013 - 10:55 AM EDT
The reality is, as we see every offseason, someone will pay him. He's the top starting pitcher available and will get his money. The market will be sizable for him. I think it would be ridiculous for any team to pay him 4/70 or more, but think it will happen.
Canadian Joe
November 1, 2013 - 10:21 AM EDT
Sorry to see this happen. Parlaying a half season in to millions of dollars. Hope the team that signs him have a good pitching coach and a few sports psychologists on retainer. Will be real interesting to see how this plays out. He may not get the contract he expects. More than 2-3 years would be very risky. I know..... somebody will pay it.

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