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February 24, 2014 at 12:19 am ET
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O’s Land Jimenez & Cruz. For Money, Even.

Sorry I’ve been out of touch for a couple weeks. All I’ll say is this: next time you’re in Sochi, look up a guy named Stoli Stan and tell him Smitty sent you. But pace yourself and stay away from the mystery plov.

Anyway, what’d I miss? Dan Duquette and the Orioles are still snoozing through the winter. Wait, what? They signed Ubaldo Jimenez? Like, for money?

Duquette sits at the table and waits for the Seattles and the Anaheims and the Yankeeses to eat up the guys too rich for Baltimore’s blood anyway. And then he waits. And waits some more. Then after a couple months, when other offers fall from the table, Camden Yards doesn’t look so bad to the remaining free agents.

But four years?! And $50 million?! Duquette doesn’t like to bend much, so hats off to Ubaldo’s agent for getting a four-year deal. I didn’t think the O’s would sign Spiderman for four years, much less a 30-year-old pitcher. But Ubaldo – who needs a nickname, and quick – has been durable throughout his career and looks like he might be good for 30 starts a year.

Plus, remember how good he was last year? He got pounded in a brutal stretch of about three starts early in the year, but after that, was lights out. He was near unhittable in the second half and notched a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts. Ubaldo, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris, with Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy not far away? Yes, please. I’ll take that.

But what else? Baltimore’s been squawking about another bat since last season.

What? Nelson Cruz is an Oriole now? For a year and $8 million? Baltimore’s lineup, top-to-bottom, just became the best in the American League East. Markakis, Machado, Davis, Jones, Cruz, Wieters, Hardy, Flaherty, Reimold/Lough. They already hit two dozen more homers than anyone else in the league last season. In Texas, Cruz was suspended for 50 games, thanks to his Biogenesis patronage. And he still hit 27 homers!

Those guys cost the O’s a couple draft picks, which heretofore have been sacrosanct in the Warehouse. But Cruz and Jiminez are as close to known quantities as you can get. And Baltimore has, in the past few seasons, quietly built up a decent farm system after years of failed prospects and guys who never climbed above double A.

Depending on who you believe, the O’s might not be done yet. They’re playing a game of chicken with Ervin Santana, who, like Cruz and Jimenez will cost a draft pick and turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer. Santana’s agent swears up and down and sideways that his client will sit for half a season before he signs under market value.

What’s the over-under on a new agent for Santana? March 15?

Anyway, nice to be back. Now please pass the plov.

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One Response to “O’s Land Jimenez & Cruz. For Money, Even.”
  1. Uncle Dave Smith says:

    Good to have you back. Think how many dingers Nelson would have had if the old urine sample switcheroo trick had worked.

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