Report: Orioles and Ubaldo Jimenez agree to a four-year, $50 million deal

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UPDATE: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Orioles and Jimenez agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal.

6:53 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles and Jimenez have reached agreement on a deal, pending a physical.

6:23 p.m. ET: After sitting on the sidelines for most of the offseason, the Orioles finally appear ready to make a big splash.

Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the Orioles have made “substantial progress” in contract talks with free agent right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and are working to finalize a deal. The contract, if finalized, is believed to be for four years and around $48 million.

Jimenez hoped to land a monster contract this offseason after his monster second half last year, but things haven’t turned out exactly as planned. Surely many teams weren’t convinced that a handful of excellent starts were enough to make a substantial investment — it looks like he’ll end up getting a similar contract to Ricky Nolasco (Twins) and Matt Garza (Brewers) — but it also didn’t help that he was attached to draft pick compensation. The Orioles have also been linked to Ervin Santana in recent weeks, but Jimenez has more upside if his second half is a sign of things to come. For a team with a brief window to win with their current roster, they might as well shoot for the moon here. Of course, the bust potential is pretty big, too.

The Orioles will surrender their first-round pick (No. 17 overall) and the corresponding draft pool money if they sign Jimenez. He would join a starting rotation which also projects to include Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, and Miguel Gonzalez.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.