He was once one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball. He has been to an All-Star games, came in third for the Cy Young Award and received a few votes in the MVP race. All the while his mommy was doing his laundry for him and cooking him dinner. This guy has got the life.
Name: Ubaldo Jimenez Jr. Number: 31
Born: January 22, 1984 (30 years old) in Nagua, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, D.R.
Height: 6'5" Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: RIght Throws: Right
Signed: in 2001 as an amateur free agent by the Colorado Rockies
Became an Oriole: signed a 4-year $50 million deal on February 19, 2014
Walk-up song: "Rie Y Llora" by Celia Cruz
One of the most publicized aspects of Jimenez signing with the O's was that his entire family would move with him. That would be his father, Ubaldo Sr., mother, Ramona, and older sister, Leidys. That's right, ladies. He is a single, thirty-year-old, multimillionaire, who happens to live with his parents.
From everything I have read, Ubaldo's "mami y papi" seem to be his entire world, and for good reason. The elder Ubaldo was in the military for 13 years and then took up two jobs, as a bus driver and a security guard, to support his family. Ramona was a nurse before having kids. After that, she sold homemade meals to get a little extra coin.
They did this to put Ubaldo and Leidys through school and to get them English lessons as children. Ubaldo would play baseball each day from 8 a.m. to noon, have lunch and then take a bus to Santo Domingo for three hours of lessons with his sister.
Even when Jimenez was being approached by scouts, his mother was there. In an anecdote Ramona shared with USA Today she said that the New York Mets offered a $20,000 bonus if Ubaldo would sign at the age of 16. His mother served as his agent and told them that her son would be finishing high school first. In fact, that was a condition under which he signed with the Rockies the next year for a $50,000 bonus. Ramona made sure he would be allowed to graduate before playing professional baseball.
Now, the entire Jimenez clan is in Baltimore. Believe it or not, that is not strange for people from the Dominican. Ubaldo is not married and in Latin America, most people stay with their parents until they have a significant other. That is fine by the Orioles big righty. Who needs a personal chef or a maid when you have your mom? She cleans and cooks anything he wants, except for his favorite meat, goat. Apparently, it's hard to find in the U.S. Imagine that.
- Hidden talent: Jimenez likes to dance. However, he refused to show off his moves at the Orioles "Talent Show" in the spring. "I like to dance a lot. Latin dances, hip hop, everything, Merengue, you name it," said Jimenez in a recent Baltimore Sun article.
- Favorite movie: For Love of the Game
- If he wasn't a baseball player: He would be a doctor. His mother originally wanted him to pursue it as a career and his sister is currently studying to become one in the Dominican.
- Favorite meal: Rice, chicken, and beans (I guess goat doesn't go well with the beans)
- Off-season spot: back to the Dominican, where he also lives with his parents.
- Prized possession: a picture of his niece, Crisley, and the Dominican Flag. (This guy is just a big, old teddy bear)
Jimenez has been far from the stabilizing force that many hoped for when he was given that big deal back in February. His ERA was hovering at or above five for much of the season. He doesn't light up the radar gun like he used to in Colorado. And he has moments where it seems like he has forgotten where the strike zone is altogether. However, he has the chance to be the saving grace for the Orioles in 2014.
The internet was abuzz last week when the birds emerged as the "leading team" for the services of Jeff Samardzija. The rumor mill posted a bounty of two top pitching prospects for the righty. Come again? His career ERA sits just below four (FIP: 3.82). That's with his red hot start to the season. He averages eight and a half strikeouts per nine innings. And batters hit .244 off of him in his career.
The Orioles have that exact same pitcher in Jimenez (career ERA: 3.96, FIP: 3.79, K/9: 8.28, BAA: .240), but with Ubaldo he has the upside and track record of surging late and propelling teams into the postseason. Samardzija? Well, he plays for the Cubs.
The Dominican native has thrown no less than 176.2 innings in each of the last six seasons. He knows what it takes to make it through the grind of a major league season and has pitched in. His experience is a priceless commodity on the staff and his track record speaks for itself. Patience, Camden Chatters, patience.
How do YOU think Jimenez will pitch the rest of the way? Comment down below along with anything you think I left out up here.