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Jimenez struggles again in O's loss to Blue Jays

Ubaldo Jimenez has been anything but an ace in his first three starts with the Orioles.
Ubaldo Jimenez has been anything but an ace in his first three starts with the Orioles.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

So far, the Baltimore Orioles have received little to no help from their prized offseason addition.

There was much excitement when the Orioles signed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, especially after looking at the way he performed in the second half of last season.

It's only three starts, which is about a tenth of his season, but the results have been less than desireable so far.

Jimenez once again didn't make it through six full innings, surrendering six runs against the Toronto Blue Jays in an ugly loss for the Orioles.

Jimenez lacks velocity on his fastball and is leaving a lot of his pitches up and over the middle of the plate. His pitch counts are elevating quickly as he struggles to find the strike zone and faces AL East opponents that are very patient at the plate.

It's far too early to label Jimenez a bust, but concern must be mounting, especially when his numbers coming into this season against AL East opponents were very poor.

If Jimenez was simply the team's fifth starter or a fairly cheap acquisition, it wouldn't be a big deal. The fact he was supposed to be one of the club's top pitchers, potentially an ace, and is signed for the next four years at $12 million per season is alarming.

A team like the Orioles can't afford to pay a very mediocre pitcher that kind of money, especially when franchise players like Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy are set to become free agents over the next two years.

That doesn't even take into account a possible contract extension for Manny Machado, or the money that could have to be set aside for top prospects Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy way down the road.

The Orioles will just have to hope Jimenez regains some velocity and has better control of his pitchers as the weather gets warmer. Otherwise, we could be looking at another Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis situation where the team vastly overpays for a player and gets very little out of the contract.