Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Extension Will Have to Wait for Jimenez

With Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez locked up for the foreseeable future, it only seems logical that the Rockies would start working on an extension for ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the bank has been temporarily closed.  Contract talks will have to wait until after the 2011 season.

Jimenez, 26, has two seasons remaining on his current four year $10M contract; plus two options seasons that, if picked up, will pay him an additional $13.75M.   Jimenez has a power repertoire, improved control, and a proven ability to pitch well in pitcher unfriendly Coors Field.  That alone should net him a 4-5 year contract with an average annual salary (AAS) of $14-16M.  Add in his tremendous 2010 Cy Young worthy season (19-8, 6.3 fWAR, 2.88 ERA, and 214/92 K/BB ratio), that could push his AAS potential up to $16-18M, particularly if he repeats his 5-6 fWAR performance in 2011.

The Rockies are probably right to wait a year before extending Jimenez again.  They hold all of the cards at this point.  If they were so inclined, the Rockies could hold onto him for the next three seasons at a very reasonable price.  Then, they could let him leave via free agency after his age-29 season just before he enters his decline phase.  Then again, with the way the Rockies have been throwing money around lately, I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign a six year $90M contract prior to Opening Day.

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