Yesterday, in Toronto, the Orioles turned to Ubaldo Jimenez to play the stopper role for the 2-game losing streak the club had been on. Based off of his performance in his last outing against the Royals, (5 IP, 9 H, 1 ER) it was a very possible chance Ubaldo could’ve very well been that stopper. However, that was not the case, and Ubaldo didn’t even make it out of the first inning. As a matter of fact, he only managed to record 1 out, while giving up 5 runs on 6 hits. That was Ubaldo’s 4th outing this year of less than 5 innings, and his second in 4 starts.
What do we do from this point with Ubaldo Jimenez?
A question that seriously needs to be asked among the front office, is “What’s the next move”, and it needs to be asked today. In his 67 starts with the O’s, Ubaldo has a win-loss record of 19-26, and an ERA of 4.81. Not the kind of numbers that he has hoped for, sure, however, it does not appear that it’s going to get any better. In 2015, after an abismal 6-9 campaign in 2014, Jimenez had tweaked his delivery, and recovered with a respectable 12-10 record with an ERA of 4.11. This season, however, it seems like Ubaldo is back to ’14 form, as he has an ERA of 6.89 in 13 starts, with a 3-7 record. Going into the splits for this season as well, Jimenez is allowing a .310 average facing right handed batters, and a .360 facing lefties.
So is it time for the organization to move on from the Jimenez experiment?
Ubaldo is set to make $13.5 million in 2017, and as it stands right now, there doesn’t appear to be any movement thought of. Could we DFA him, and cut ties? Well, no. He’d hit the waiver marker, nobody is going to pick him up at the moment due to his struggles, and he’ll become a free agent and the Orioles will eat $13.5 million. I honestly don’t see that happening.
How about a bullpen trip? When Yovani Gallardo comes back this week there is going to be an incredibly tough decision made. What if the decision is that Ubaldo pitches from the bullpen for the rest of the season? In 2014, Ubaldo Jimenez made 3 relief appearances, throwing 5.1 innings, but he gave up 4 runs leading to a 7.06 ERA from the bullpen. I don’t believe a bullpen trip is going to help in this situation?
Whatever happens, needs to happen quick. This season, the Orioles are 6-7 in games that Ubaldo has started. Now in the seasons third month, the Orioles are in a tough stretch of road games against teams in the division. We’re going to need to keep this thing together, and not falter if we’re going to make a run for the division title again.
Whether or not Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching from the rotation is not up to me, but I can only hope that the front office realizes this is an on going issue, needing by immediate attention, and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.