The Orioles made their biggest free-agent splash in years Monday night, agreeing to terms with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez on a four-year deal worth $48 million.
We have a number of stories and blogs posted on what this signing means, but here's a look at what some of the outside media outlets are saying about the move:
** ESPN's Buster Olney writes that the move keeps the Orioles in contention:
The concern within the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, as the negotiations with Ubaldo Jimenez began percolating over the last 48 hours, was that the Boston Red Sox or Toronto Blue Jays would snag the right-hander.
But behind the curtain, there is this: Sources say that neither the Red Sox nor the Blue Jays actually made any offer for Jimenez, and that the dialogue was not a matter of either team pursing the player, but of Jimenez’s representative pursuing the team.
No matter how we got here, however, the fact is that the Orioles felt they needed to do something.
** CBSSports' Jon Heyman is operating under the assumption that the Orioles won't be able to re-sign Chris Davis and Matt Wieters after next season. He writes that the club had to sign a pitcher like Jimenez to compete within this two-year window:
The Orioles have their own terrific young Core Four thanks to some very wise moves by both Andy MacPhail and Dan Duquette. But they weren't going to win a World Series with young hitters and fielders, plus Buck Showalter's magic, alone.
... Most of all, the Orioles needed to make the move because they may have a short window to overtake the Red Sox, Yankees and the rest. No one has a better young positional quartet than Davis, Wieters, Adam Jones and Manny Machado. The Orioles couldn't take a chance of wasting their finals couple years together.
** Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes that the Cleveland Indians never really wanted Jimenez back:
The front office enjoyed watching Jimenez pitch them into the postseason for the first time since 2007, but they did not think that outweighed his inconsistent body of work since arriving in Cleveland in July of 2011 in a trade with Colorado.
Jimenez drove the Tribe’s powers that be to distraction with his wild performance swings. Jimenez went 13-21 with 5.30 ERA in his first one and a half seasons with the Tribe. He threw 18 wild pitches, issued 102 walks and allowed 143 earned runs in 243 innings.
In 2012, Jimenez almost turned in a rare triple crown, leading the AL in losses and wild pitches. He missed the third leg by finishing second in walks allowed.
Last year’s 13-9 performance was not enough to convince the Indians that he was worth a multiyear deal even though they knew Mickey Callaway would be back this year as pitching coach. Jimenez credited Callaway with smoothing his complicated delivery to a point where he could repeat it on a consistent basis.
** Finally, Sports Illustrated's Cliff Corcoran calls the Jimenez signing a "gamble," and he raises a number of questions that will decide whether the move worked:
Jimenez’s Orioles career will begin with as many questions as answers. Was [his 2013] performance evidence of Jimenez’s growing comfort with his new mechanics and repertoire, or just a walk-year surge? Can Jimenez continue to succeed with his new delivery despite being divorced from the pitching coach who designed it? Will the erosion of Jimenez’s groundball rate, which, despite the increased emphasis on his sinker, has been a side-effect of those changes, cause problems in Baltimore’s home-run friendly ballpark? Jimenez’s success last year came after he had largely dashed all of the expectations that followed him into the majors with the Rockies. Can he repeat that success given the new set of expectations created by his contract?
There’s a great deal of pressure on both Jimenez and Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace to make sure Baltimore gets what is has paid for in dollars and draft picks.