When the Cleveland Indians traded Drew Stubbs to the Colorado Rockies last week, it freed up some cap space. Unfortunately for them, it was not the kind of money that will allow them to sign free agent starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Paul Hoynes writes the following in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Yes, they freed some money by trading Stubbs to Colorado for reliever Josh Outman, but that’s chump change compared to the truckloads of cash needed to sign Jimenez or extend Masterson. Brantley would be cheaper because he still has three years of control left, but it would still take a lot more money than they saved in the Stubbs deal.
It’s estimated that Stubbs will make $3.8 million if he goes to arbitration this winter, while Outman could make $1.4 million. I don’t think the difference between those two figures is going to bring Jimenez back to Cleveland or convince Masterson or Brantley to sign an extension.
Justin Masterson and Jimenez were fixtures as the Indians made their surprising sprint to the 2013 playoffs. For Jimenez’s part, he recovered from an unsteady couple of years in Cleveland with a remarkable second half of the season. In his final six starts, he went 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA.
Those starts were the culmination of steady improvement throughout the season for Jimenez, and now he seeks a long term, big money deal. Like the rest of the free agent market, he will have to wait on the results of the posting situation with Masahiro Tanaka. But whenever he does sign his new deal, it sounds less and less likely that it will involve a return to Cleveland.