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Monday, February 17, 2014

Orioles To Sign Ubaldo Jiminez

Can he pass the physical? Can anyone?

Brian Posted: February 17, 2014 at 08:35 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, orioles

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   1. Matthew E Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4658268)
I have mixed emotions about this: the Jays could have used him, but then again, he'd be just another pitcher to them, and that's a lot of money for just another pitcher. If Jimenez was going to be successful, he needed to sign with somebody else, which he did, and good luck to him.
   2. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4658271)
I was worried that the Jays were going to either get Santana or Jimenez. I really don't want them to get Santana, and I worry that this makes that more likely.
   3. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4658272)
4 years? I was prepared to like this, but that's a long time.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4658275)
4/50 isn't very much for a SP these days.
   5. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4658276)
Finally the Orioles do something. Ubaldo must have been getting desperate.

Jiminez seems kind of fitting on the Orioles anyway. He's like what Daniel Cabrera might have been if he'd had just a bit more control.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4658280)
I don't know if Ubaldo is a good deal at that price, but every starting pitcher who signs recently makes the Jason Vargas contract look bad by comparison.
   7. SteveM. Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4658281)
I think this is an excellent deal for the Birds. This deal seems below market rate and its not like the O's have had much luck attracting other free agents (or maybe its the physical that seems to include everything including a sperm sample).
   8. DL from MN Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4658283)
The Orioles needed a pitcher as much as anyone.

Does Ervin Santana go back to the Royals now?

Edit: For Jason Vargas money?
   9. Darren Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4658301)
4/50 just seems so low for one of the better starters on the market. I really thought Ubaldo and Santana were going to end up with Anibal Sanchez-like deals.
   10. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4658305)
Ubaldo seems pretty much a headcase to me. I know the contract year is fuzzy in general, but I think there is a very good chance that he specifically will start pitching like he did in 2011 and 2012 now.
   11. sinicalypse Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:13 AM (#4658324)
#7-- yeah, when you consider that the cubs inexplicably went 4/52 on edwin [expletive] jackson, this deal seems way better by comparison.

but then again, if the cubs could have waited a year to try and coddle a few of the grumpy fans, they could have literally tossed out the same 4/52 at matt garza and ended up with a better pitcher who was already indoctrinated to "the cubbie way" --- as that brewcrew garza signing makes the cubs' edwin jackson signing look even worse, let alone the timing of it all.

it turns out if the cubs were able to hold out for 1 more year, they would have been able to bring in a 4/52ish pitcher NOW with the kids on the horizon and it would have made more sense all around.... but nope. they had to give some tacit little nod of "we're trying" in the form of edwin jackson, who maybe was a masterful signing if you consider that they probably don't mind losing as many games as possible to get even better draft positions during those 4yrs of edwin's deal.
   12. Davo Dozier Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:15 AM (#4658325)
#8--Royals, by all accounts, cannot spend any more money. Anecdotally, they just cut Emilio Bonifacio a few days ago because they could no longer afford his $3.5MM arbitration salary.
   13. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4658329)
[11]of course there's no reason the cubs couldn't sign a 4/52 contract this offseason, especially considering they just lit 6m on fire for jason hammel. Well no reason other than the fact that tom ricketts is playing bucket drums for quarters outside of bulls games
   14. zonk Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4658330)
The Edwin Jackson deal was defensible if you consider he was basically the consolation prize for Sanchez using them as leverage... Jackson is incredibly frustrating, but he was the right side of 30, relatively durable, and has always been the sort of pitcher that every team thinks is just a fix away from stardom.

But - yes - I'd rather have had this deal and rumor was that the Cubs were kicking the tires.
   15. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:28 AM (#4658333)
Edwin Jackson's peripherals suggest he was probably a bit unlucky last year. His BABIP was about .045 different than the year before. He's probably a decent bet to pitch significantly better this year.
   16. madvillain Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:53 AM (#4658336)
and has always been the sort of pitcher that every team thinks is just a fix away from stardom.


After Don Cooper couldn't fix 'em, I gave up on him. Classic good stuff, mediocre command "underachiever". He seems prone, as much a pitcher can be, to giving up homeruns. If he was walk rate was lower, he could get away with it, but it's not. Still a useful pitcher I'm sure the Cubs thought process was "he'll help us win a few games this year and in the future he'll be at worst a neutral trade asset".

He can still be that for them, but yea, he's a solid 4 at best at this point in his career.
   17. DFA Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:59 AM (#4658337)
I know the contract year is fuzzy in general, but I think there is a very good chance that he specifically will start pitching like he did in 2011 and 2012 now.


Jimenez's FIP in 2011 was 3.67.
   18. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:06 AM (#4658338)
After Don Cooper couldn't fix 'em, I gave up on him.

Jackson posted a 118 ERA+ for the White Sox in 30 starts with pretty peripherals. It looks like he did "fix" him but that Jackson needs continuance maintenance. Cooper is really good.
   19. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:36 AM (#4658340)
Zonk, where did you read about the cubs kicking the tires? Not that they haven't "kicked the tires" on every free agent of worth only to come embarrassingly short on money but I never read a word about them and Jimenez
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4658364)
The Edwin Jackson deal was defensible if you consider he was basically the consolation prize for Sanchez using them as leverage... Jackson is incredibly frustrating, but he was the right side of 30, relatively durable, and has always been the sort of pitcher that every team thinks is just a fix away from stardom.

Fun random Edwin Jackson fact.

Since he became a regular SP in 2007, Jackson's K/9 has gone up or down by at least 1 K/9 every season.

Starting at 7.16 in 2007, he's gone 5.30, 6.77, 7.78, 6.67, 7.97, 6.93. That's some damn consistent inconsistency.
   21. zonk Posted: February 18, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4658372)
Zonk, where did you read about the cubs kicking the tires? Not that they haven't "kicked the tires" on every free agent of worth only to come embarrassingly short on money but I never read a word about them and Jimenez


Bleed Cubbie Blue maybe? It was pretty early in the offseason - can't find the post now, but my recollection is that it DID quote 'sources' and didn't sound like wishcasting 'I hope the Cubs'....

Still, if they were going to pay 4/50 to 4/60 -- Garza would have seemed to be the better choice and I tend to think that he'd have come back to Chicago for what the Brewers offered.

On one hand, I suppose it's now or never for Grimm, Arrieta, and Rusin -- figure Samardzija, Wood, and Jackson locked into 3 spots.... Now they've got Hammel and James McDonald in the mix and Villanueva is still around. I guess that's their 9 SPs - figure 2 (likely Samardzija and Villanueva) get moved at some point this year. Between trades, injuries, and ineffectiveness, I've resigned myself to the idea that I'm probably going to see another Casey Coleman start though I'm comforted by the fact that at least he's not on the 40 man roster at this time...
   22. zonk Posted: February 18, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4658374)
The worst thing about Jackson's contract for all baseball fans is that it's a bit large to ensure he continues his quest to pitch for all 30 teams... He can't afford to spend 2-3-4 full years in one organization.
   23. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4658383)
Really like this deal for the Orioles. Jimenez has #1 upside, and even 180 IP and a 110-120 ERA+ would be huge for the Orioles.

Watching Jimenez and Josh Johnson in the 2010 all-star game was a treat. They had some of the best non-Pedro stuff I've ever seen.
   24. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4658387)

Edwin Jackson was really good for Detroit his one year there. He was Rick Knapp's big success story... word was Rick got Jackson to pound the zone. Then the Tigers used him to help land Scherzer, Jackson, and Coke*. Yay!

*Phil Coke included only for entertainment value and his magical run as closer in the 2012 ALCS
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4658398)
This is a fantastic deal. What I have learned from watching the FA market play out the last few years, is that if you're patient, there are deals to be had in February. No need to rush out and sign the first Jason Vargas who bats her pretty eyes at you.
   26. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4658400)
I wouldn't be surprised if they signed Kendry Morales in the next couple days.
   27. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4658402)
4/50 just seems so low for one of the better starters on the market.


I guess that's an expression of the value of draft picks in today's market.

Ubaldo was really, really good down the stretch. I think he could be a steal for the O's.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4658406)
Ubaldo was really, really good down the stretch.

There was an article on this recently. In his insane 8 start run, he faced a lot of weak lineups.
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4658407)
I guess that's an expression of the value of draft picks in today's market.



Garza got a similar contract with no draft pick compensation. He had medical concerns however. It will be interesting to see what Santana gets now. I'd guess no more than 3/36.
   30. Belfry Bob Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4658412)
Nice signing. Not without risk, sure - but you've got to take risks to win. And that 17th pick? Odds are against it being really meaningful. Nice to see the O's recognize the window of opportunity and are actually trying to open it...whether or not it opens remains to be seen.

Yes, I'd pass up the second round pick and sign Morales if the deal was right.

This has a good ripple effect, too. Gausman will now probably open in AAA and Matusz in the bullpen, making it stronger.

Like all signings, this could blow up. But it does put the Orioles back in the AL conversation.

It also puts to rest speculation that the 'physical' stuff is meaningful. What's meaningful is money and a willingness to pitch in the AL East.
   31. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4658415)
Garza got a similar contract with no draft pick compensation. He had medical concerns however. It will be interesting to see what Santana gets now. I'd guess no more than 3/36.


Man would the Royals look like the village dunces if that's what Santana ends up with.
   32. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4658422)
Man would the Royals look like the village dunces if that's what Santana ends up with.
   33. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4658427)
I like this deal and not the Vargas move, but let's not forget that draft pick compensation makes a huge difference here.
   34. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4658430)
I wouldn't be surprised if they signed Kendry Morales in the next couple days.


Yeah, if you're going to give up the first round pick, might as well knock out a couple in the same year. Heck, sign Santana too.
   35. Len Lansford, Carney Barker Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4658433)
If the O's get the Ubaldo from the second half of last season, its a steal.
If the O's get the Ubaldo from the rest of his tenure as an Indian, ow.

The longer he remained an FA, the higher my hopes of the Tribe picking him back up cheap. A fourth year looks to have been a year too much. So it goes again in Cleveland.
   36. attaboy Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4658447)
His potential for being an ace (or a #1, at least) is there but his low end is so low, 4 years is a long time to hold onto a worthless pitcher if it goes that way. Most teams won't eat 2-3 years so his stench might be around a long time if he isn't 2nd half 2013 UJ!
   37. SG Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4658450)
In his insane 8 start run, he faced a lot of weak lineups.


He was better for longer than eight starts. From June 1, he made 22 starts and pitched 131 innings with 141 K and 54 BB and a 2.40 ERA despite a .314 BABIP against. His drop in velocity from his peak scares me, but I think he has a chance to be pretty solid for Baltimore.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4658453)
There was an article on this recently. In his insane 8 start run, he faced a lot of weak lineups.


It's not just his last eight starts, though. From the beginning of June through the end of the year, he had a 2.40 ERA and 141/54 K/BB in 131 IP. That's a stretch of 22 consecutive starts, so it's not just a hot streak, and it includes 9 games against teams in the top half of the league offensively (Atlanta, Baltimore x2, Detroit, Los Angeles of Anaheim, Oakland, Texas x2, and Toronto), so it's not like he was just beating up a bunch of pushovers.

Edit: God dammit, Coke to SG.
   39. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4658464)
He's had such an odd career. He got better and better in his four years in Colorado, and was true ace in 2010. He was mediocre in 2011, but his peripherals were still good and he had 1 WAR and a 93 ERA+ (below average but not horrible for a starter). But then he was horrific in 2012, and solidly above average last year. Did Colorado's defense decline from 2010 to 2011? What's cleveland's defense like?

I don't think it makes sense to say he'll be either the second half 2013 Jimenez or the 2012 version. Almost anything is possible IMO. The safest bet is that he'll do something around his career average -- 110 ERA+ and ~3 WAR.
   40. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4658466)
His potential for being an ace (or a #1, at least) is there but his low end is so low, 4 years is a long time to hold onto a worthless pitcher if it goes that way. Most teams won't eat 2-3 years so his stench might be around a long time if he isn't 2nd half 2013 UJ!

This is part of why I like him for Baltimore - they ought to pursue a little risk.
   41. Davo Dozier Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4658470)
I hadn't realized how weak the Orioles' rotation was until this was announced.

They probably need Ubaldo more than any other team in baseball.

As it is, while Jimenez-Tillman-Norris-Chen-Gonzalez has almost no chance of being a great rotation, it also has very little chance of being a bad one.

It's going to come down to their young hitters again.
   42. puck Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4658473)
But then he was horrific in 2012, and solidly above average last year. Did Colorado's defense decline from 2010 to 2011? What's cleveland's defense like?

He's always thrown a lot of different pitches but also was reliant on his 98 MPH fastball. His velocity dropped around the same time he performance did. No one appears ever to have identified an injury. I think he's had to adjust to pitching with the lower velocity. Even in the best of times he had issues with keeping his delivery consistent--it's such an odd motion.
   43. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4658478)
Not sure about Kendrys, but Stephen Drew for 2B seems like a decent idea. They'd have 3 SS and a 3B on the infield. Also Weeks is actually a decent hitter batting righthanded. There could be a platoon and they wouldn't need a utility IF with all the SS in the starting lineup.
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4658487)
He's always thrown a lot of different pitches but also was reliant on his 98 MPH fastball. His velocity dropped around the same time he performance did. No one appears ever to have identified an injury.


Ubaldo had been brilliant in spring training in 2011, but then got knocked around on Opening Day, and afterward said he had a split right thumbnail that made it hard for him to grip the ball. That thumbnail bothered him for the first few starts of 2011, and also seemed to put his delivery out of whack.
   45. attaboy Posted: February 18, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4658522)
It's going to come down to their young hitters again.

Unfortunately for Baltimore, the rest of the teams in the division have outstanding rotations (well, 3 of the 4 others and the 4th is certainly Baltimore's equal) so I think their young hitters will be at a distinct disadvantage from the get go.
   46. Belfry Bob Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4658547)
Unfortunately for Baltimore, the rest of the teams in the division have outstanding rotations (well, 3 of the 4 others and the 4th is certainly Baltimore's equal) so I think their young hitters will be at a distinct disadvantage from the get go.


You mean like the last two years? I'll take that 'disadvantage.'
   47. Davo Dozier Posted: February 18, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4658554)
Inane number-crunching (it's my specialty!), but fwiw, Ubaldo Jimenez has a career 5.84 ERA against the Yankees-Red Sox-Blue Jays-Rays, and 4.7 BB/9.

Intuitively, this does not seem like a division that's kind to pitchers who don't have good control.
   48. attaboy Posted: February 18, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4658595)
You mean like the last two years? I'll take that 'disadvantage.'

Sure, look at last year alone. 12 games behind Boston and 6 behind TB and tied with NY. NY adds significant players including the #1 pitching option and perhaps 2 of the top 4 hitting options in the free agent market. Clearly Balt is at a disadvantage from the start pitching wise. Now, maybe UJ is an ace for the entire year and maybe the Balt hitters get better (so what if Davis might have had a career year and so what if Machado is hurt for the first month...or two), there is still improvement to be had from Wieters and Jones...I think. Still I don't see them truly challenging for the title, unless you are happy being 8-12 out and relevant on the 4th of July but not on labor day.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4658602)
Ubaldo 2011-13: 547 IP, 90 ERA+, 8.4/4.2 K/BB, 1 HR/9 (which got worse going from Col to Cle!)
Jackson 2010-12: 599 IP, 100 ERA+, 7.5/3.0 K/BB, .9 HR/9

Jackson was 29 when signed, Jimenez 30. Of course, before 2011, Jimenez was a much better pitcher than Jackson -- not even close. And Jimenez is coming off a good year while Jackson was coming off a Jackson year. Jackson's lousy 2013 looks no worse, maybe a bit better than Jimenez's 2012. So it's not clear that Jimenez is a substantially better pitcher now than Jackson was/is.
   50. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4658608)
Sure, look at last year alone. 12 games behind Boston and 6 behind TB and tied with NY. NY adds significant players including the #1 pitching option and perhaps 2 of the top 4 hitting options in the free agent market. Clearly Balt is at a disadvantage from the start pitching wise. Now, maybe UJ is an ace for the entire year and maybe the Balt hitters get better (so what if Davis might have had a career year and so what if Machado is hurt for the first month...or two), there is still improvement to be had from Wieters and Jones...I think. Still I don't see them truly challenging for the title, unless you are happy being 8-12 out and relevant on the 4th of July but not on labor day.


Baltimore was 4th in the league in runs scored last year. I don't think their hitters are at much of a "disadvantage", or if they are, they're able to overcome it. Their pitching isn't as strong as the other East teams, and they took a big step towards evening that out this week.
   51. attaboy Posted: February 18, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4658638)
Baltimore was 4th in the league in runs scored last year. I don't think their hitters are at much of a "disadvantage", or if they are, they're able to overcome it. Their pitching isn't as strong as the other East teams, and they took a big step towards evening that out this week.

Thank you, you've aided my point. 4th in the league in hitting and they were still 12 behind the sox, 6 behind the rays and tied with NY who didn't have a team! The disadvantage is their pitching staff to the other team's pitching staffs. NY adds 3 top tier players and Balt adds either an ace or a wash out (maybe somewhere in between but we have barely seen that in-between pitcher in 5 years). I am no NYY fan (nor Boston, for that matter) but clearly Baltimore is worse off today then they were anytime last year.
   52. Curse of the Andino Posted: February 18, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4658643)
(so what if Davis might have had a career year and so what if Machado is hurt for the first month...or two), there is still improvement to be had from Wieters and Jones...


Top of my head, Davis was awesome, Jones quite good, Hardy very productive by contemporary SS standards. Machado started off hot but tailed off even before he got hurt. Markakis+Wieters+assorted DHs + Corpse of Brian Roberts and others at 2b were below average. McLouth was a 1.5 WAR guy in LF.

Baltimore was 4th in the league in runs scored last year. I don't think their hitters are at much of a "disadvantage", or if they are, they're able to overcome it. Their pitching isn't as strong as the other East teams, and they took a big step towards evening that out this week.


Yeah, the 2012 team, while one of the all-time great flukes, at least had pretty much everyone on the squad worthy of a major league roster. I'm thinking they did improve the team with incremental maneuvers, and we'll see what happens with Jimenez.
   53. attaboy Posted: February 18, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4658662)
Top of my head, Davis was awesome, Jones quite good, Hardy very productive by contemporary SS standards.

Agreed. I was employing sarcasm...just not very well, apparently :)

And, BTW, I do think the signing was a good late signing, when bargains can be had but this doesn't make them competitive with the 3 division leaders.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4658718)
I am no NYY fan (nor Boston, for that matter) but clearly Baltimore is worse off today then they were anytime last year.

How so? The Yanks aren't clearly better (Cano/Granderson vs. Ellsbury/McCann probably a wash, Tanaka vs. Pettitte a potentially big improvement, no mo MO) while the 2013 Red Sox were massive overachievers (offense was something like 17 WAR above projections) and they've watched 13 WAR walk away (unless they re-sign Drew then it's only about 10).* The only significant talent they've added from outside is Mujica and Pierzynski (who can't project very well I wouldn't think).

*That's not to say they should have re-signed Ellsbury, Salty and Drew necessarily -- those guys don't project to repeat their 2013 WAR and the Sox have cheap in-house replacements.
   55. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 18, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4658725)
Thank you, you've aided my point. 4th in the league in hitting and they were still 12 behind the sox, 6 behind the rays and tied with NY who didn't have a team! The disadvantage is their pitching staff to the other team's pitching staffs.


Okay, well I agree with that. I thought you were saying the O's hitters were at some sort of disadvantage. I don't really think they are since they're so good. But no doubt the O's pitching staff doesn't compare to their division bretheren.
   56. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 18, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4658726)
I agree with 54. This division is in the same place it was 12 months ago -- the teams are fairly close together and anything could happen. I guess I'd project something like

Rays 92 wins
Red Sox 90
Orioles 88
Yankees 86
Blue Jays 82

But almost no outcome would surprise me.
   57. Belfry Bob Posted: February 19, 2014 at 03:06 AM (#4658854)
Attaboy, the Yankees weren't 'tied with the O's' by performance, only in the standings. They improved, and de-proved at the same time...the lump sum looks to be about 84-86 wins. The O's are in that same general area. They are not 'a step below the top three'...they are a step below the top TWO, as are the Yankees and Jays.

Your 'point wasn't aided' by comments on the O's ranking 4th in the league in runs...your alleged 'point' was that the Orioles have some sort of offensive deficiency (and they do, they don't walk. But I'll take what they have, thank you.)But they ranked 4th in the league in runs...it's the pitching that stunk. And it's much better today than it was going into the season a year ago - Tillman is more experienced, no matter what Ubaldo does, he's better than Jason Hammel, Gonzo and Chen should be at least as good, and Norris improves the five spot, which was a revolving door a year ago. The bullpen will probably be better, too. (Johnson was overrated, though I'm not sold on Tommy Hunter in that role. But someone will take it, possibly O'Day.)

Is the Yanks pitching better? The Jays? The Sox? Yes. But the gap is closed a bit more here, and the O's have a better offense and a MUCH better defense than the Yankees or Rays. The Sox are still the guys to beat.

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