Here’s the deal for Ubaldo Jimenez. If not for the impending desperation of certain teams that are feeling pressure to contend this season, he might be left waiting a long time for a contract. If not for three teams, the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners, it might be the middle of the summer before he found a place to land.
The Blue Jays and Mariners have extra pressure to follow up on big moves, to show that big moves made in the last year or so indicated a commitment to winning. Toronto has to follow up on the disappointing results of 2013, while the Mariners have to follow up on the Robinson Cano move.
As for the Orioles, they face the dreaded designation of being called a “fluke” after two successful seasons. If they are going to win again in the AL East, they need more pitching. Like the Blue Jays and Mariners, they cannot afford to sit and wait before making a move.
It makes sense, then, that Jon Heyman is reporting tonight that those three teams are in on Jimenez, and that a deal is still likely to happen before Opening Day. He writes the following:
The Jimenez market has been mostly a mystery since it was said by a source familiar with his situation that he was being pursued by the Jays and two other unnamed teams. One of those teams is likely the Orioles, and another could well be the Mariners. It isn’t known whether more teams have joined the fray since that comment was made a couple weeks back…
…There’s been some speculation that one or more of the top free agents may wait through spring training (and maybe even the early June draft) before signing, but one GM said assuredly that that won’t be the case with Jimenez and Santana. ‘They’ll sign,’ that GM predicted.
With Spring Training comes the pressure of expectations. Under that pressure, expect one of these teams to sign Jimenez with one of the others signing Ervin Santana.