SARASOTA, Fla. — Ubaldo Jimenez waited until spring training began before signing a four-year, $50 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles. It wasn't a comfortable feeling.
"It is very difficult to wait. I know I'm not the only one who had headaches," Jimenez said.
Because signing Jimenez cost the Orioles their first round draft pick, it was a hard decision for executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.
"We made that conscious choice to put those resources into our current team on the starting pitching staff and that's what we felt we had to do to stabilize our team and be competitive in the AL East," Duquette said.
Baltimore was a surprise playoff team in 2012, won 85 games in 2013 and didn't make a big free agent acquisition until this week when they added South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon and the right-handed Jimenez.
"It took a lot of patience by the fans and a lot of patience by us to add veteran starting pitchers, but this is a robust market for the veteran starting pitchers. Every starting pitcher that we were in on, there were four or five other clubs also in on that pitcher actively trying to sign him with good offers," Duquette said.
The Orioles have a likely starting rotation of Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris.
Jimenez, who won 19 games in 2010 for Colorado, and 13 with Cleveland last season, including four straight in September, can help the team's rotation immensely.
"Ubaldo's going to make the pitching staff. He's got a good shot at it," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's worth waiting on."
Jimenez has never pitched in the American League East, and unlike some of the other higher profile free agent pitchers, looks forward to working in a tough division.
Jimenez will attempt to justify Baltimore's investment.
"That's definitely is a lot of money. I'm just going to go out there and show everything I have. I'm not going to be trying to do too much because then it's going to mess everything up. I have to be who I am. I can't be thinking about doing too much," Jimenez said.