If You Knew Ubaldo, Like I Know....

Then you would be cautiously optimistic about this reported signing of the former Colorado Springs Sky sox pitcher. That is how far back Ubaldo Jimenez and I go.

Why cautious?

We're fans of the Orioles, it is part of the deal.

Why optimistic?

A much better question, and the answer is: this is guy capable of being as dominant as any pitcher in baseball. He can confound like Mike Cuellar, show the control of Jim Palmer and yet lose focus as fast as former O's/Rockies' pitcher Jason Hamel. If he stays healthy and survives the dreaded inspection of the Baltimore medical staff! he will add needed depth for a team competing in the AL East.

He is the only Colorado Rockies pitcher to throw a no hitter. Of course it was away from the expansive outfield grass of Coors Field in Denver, but it was against a solid Atlanta Braves lineup. Those nine innings are a fine sample of how good he can be and how maddening he can be. He walked six and had a balk, while striking out seven in a wild no hit effort of 128 pitches, 72 for strikes.

I watched him rise through the ranks and become a staff ace in 2010, but then he woke up and felt unappreciated by a team that developed him. Again, at times Jimenez is dominant and others he loses focus at the smallest adversity, the Rockies sent him to Cleveland, for a guy they just sent to Oakland for Brent Anderson.

The good news is he seems to have found his stuff, and a show of some mental toughness for the Tribe in their stretch run to the playoffs last year. He wants to be wanted, as we all do, but if happy, settled in with some baseball guidance from Buck and his staff, and the O's may have a staff stabilizer.

And that other question, how is that I watched him so often? I"m a Maryland native who married a Colorado native, guess where we live? The Rockies tend to claim similar market size and financial constraints that Baltimore faithful have dealt with, so I was slightly surprised they didn't keep their own home grown quality arm. A kid who moved his mother near him, walked to the stadium and always kept clear of off field trouble seemed like a nice find, and a strange trade.

Ultimately, Coors Field has wrecked some of baseball's finest pitchers, but not Ubaldo, so playing at OPACY will not rattle him. He can load the bases and strike out the side in the same frame, both frighten and amaze, he seems like a perfect fit around here.

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