Orioles manager Buck Showalter loves you. He loves me too. Struggling high-priced starter Ubaldo Jimenez has been moved to the bullpen effective immediately, he told reporters before Tuesday's game against the White Sox.
To say that the Orioles' $50 million starter has been a disappointment is putting it mildly. He has struggled for nearly the entire season, mustering a 4.83 ERA in 110 innings across 20 starts. He was so bad that when he went to the disabled list because he rolled his ankle stepping out of his car in the parking lot at his home, you kinda had to hope he didn't come back this year. Jimenez came back and he was still bad.
What was truly remarkable about how poorly Jimenez pitched is how many batters he managed to walk - 66 in 110 innings. That's a 5.4 BB/9 rate, which exceeds the already-ridiculous rate of 4.0 he had prior to this season. The average pitcher in the league has a BB/9 of 2.94 this season. Even when he wasn't walking people, it was simply painful to watch him pitch. The games he started were the games you looked forward to the least.
When there were struggling members of the Orioles rotation, you could understand a little of why they kept chucking Ubaldo out there. Now it's closer to firing on all cylinders and doing things like sending Miguel Gonzalez or Kevin Gausman or whoever else to the minors is no longer a palatable option. Instead, it's Jimenez to the bullpen.
Not the outcome you hope for when you sign a guy to a four-year contract, but part of business is accepting when something is a sunk cost and moving on. Jimenez, at least for this year, is a sunk cost. The team is better without him starting every five games. Maybe next year will go better, but in the middle of a race for the AL East, they can't just keep throwing him out there and hoping that he'll suddenly improve.
With Jimenez out of the picture, the Orioles rotation lines up as follows, starting with Tuesday's game in Chicago: Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Kevin Gausman, Bud Norris, Gonzalez.