Ubaldo Jimenez injuring his ankle stepping in a hole provided the Orioles with an opportunity to give Kevin Gausman an extended chance in the starting rotation and now it sounds like they’re telling Jimenez to take his sweet time coming back.
Manager Buck Showalter told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that Jimenez will definitely need a minor-league rehab assignment before being cleared to come off the disabled list, so he won’t be returning when eligible on July 23. In fact, it seems likely that Jimenez will miss the remainder of the month, at minimum, giving the Orioles plenty of time to figure out what to do with Gausman and their suddenly crowded rotation.
Jimenez has struggled in the first season of a four-year, $50 million deal, but his control problems have always been a major issue and … well, five months ago the Orioles deemed him worthy of a $50 million investment. In other words, he’ll be back in the rotation eventually. And by that time Gausman may have established himself as Baltimore’s ace.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.
Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.
Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.
The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.