Ubaldo's goal: To win championship for Baltimore
The Orioles officially introduced one of the biggest free-agent signings in their history on Thursday morning, as right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez met with the media in Sarasota, Fla., after signing a four-year, $50 million contract.
"I'm really excited to be here," Jimenez said. "The only thing I can do to pay them back is to go out there every five days and give the best of me and give the team the opportunity to win. I'm very excited. We're all here for one reason, and that's winning a championship for the city of Baltimore."
Jimenez, 30, comes to Baltimore after 2 1/2 seasons in Cleveland. He was 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts in 2013, and was especially impressive in the second half. Jimenez posted a 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break, while striking out 10.7 hitters per nine innings, and was 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in six September outings as the Indians battled in the American League Wild Card race.
Overall, Jimenez is 82-75 with a 3.92 ERA in eight seasons with the Indians and Rockies.
"Ubaldo is a proven, reliable, dependable starting pitcher," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "He's shown leadership on the staffs he's been on in Colorado and Cleveland. When he's on his game, he's one of the top pitchers in baseball."
As Duquette mentioned, Jimenez will bring innings and stability to Baltimore's rotation, as he has made 30-plus starts in each of the past six seasons.
Jimenez's performance, however, has been inconsistent. He followed his impressive 2010 campaign (19-8, 2.88 ERA) with a disappointing 4.68 ERA in '11, when he was dealt from Colorado to Cleveland, and posted a 5.40 ERA while losing 17 times in '12.
Jimenez improved last season, thanks mostly, he said, to being fully healthy after an ankle injury altered his mechanics. Jimenez said he's confident he can build off 2013's second-half numbers.
"Those two years were a nightmare, but they're in the past," Jimenez said. "As a player, that's something I want to put out of my mind, just forget about what happened. I look forward to the future.
"I had a great second half last year. … I have a lot of confidence to go out there knowing that I'm healthy and I'm going to be able to compete every five days."