Free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez appears to finally have a team and the Orioles appear to have someone to put at the top of their young rotation.
MASNsports.com reported Monday evening that the Orioles “have made substantial progress” on a deal with Jimenez. The deal is believed to be for four years and $48 million, according to the report. Fox Sports also reported that the sides have agreed upon a deal, pending a physical.
Jimenez, 30, finished third in NL Cy Young voting in 2010 with the Rockies. He had largely struggled since then before righting himself over the second half of last season with the Indians.
In Jimenez’s last 12 starts, he went 6-4 with a 1.72 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 78⅓ innings. On the season, he was 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA. His 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings was a career high.
In Baltimore, Jimenez would join Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen atop the rotation. Bud Norris would be the likely fourth starter with Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman, and newly signed Suk-min Yoon competing for the fifth spot.
If the Orioles complete the signing, they’ll forfeit the 17th overall pick in the draft to Cleveland.
The Orioles also finalized a three-year contract for $5,575,000 with Yoon that could escalate to $13,075,000 if the South Korean righthander starts 26 or more games each season.
Yoon, 27, was 73-59 with a 3.19 ERA in nine seasons with the KIA Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Jonathan Papelbon wants to be a more positive influence in his third season with the Phillies.
Papelbon left the Red Sox for a $50 million, four-year contract with Philadelphia in November 2011. But the Phillies had a .500 record in 2012 and went 73-89 last season for the franchise’s first losing record in 11 years, and Papelbon did not take it well.
‘‘I definitely didn’t come here for this,’’ Papelbon told MLB.com during an eight-game losing streak last July.
Speaking in Clearwater, Fla., Philadelphia’s spring home, Papelbon said he is trying to leave the negativity in the past.
‘‘This year, I’m definitely trying to be a lot more of a positive influence and be more upbeat,’’ he said.
Papelbon’s run of seven straight seasons with 30 or more saves came to an end when he went 5-1 last year with 29 saves in 36 chances and a 2.92 ERA. Only three regular closers in the major leagues had more blown saves than the righthander.
In addition to suggesting he’d rather be on another team last summer, Papelbon also pointed fingers around the clubhouse without naming names, saying some teammates lacked fundamentals. None of his comments were received very well within the organization or among fans.
‘‘I know I said a lot of things that have come in the middle of 10- to 12-game losing streaks that come out with emotion,’’ Papelbon said. ‘‘I’ve always been an emotional type of player. That’s just the way I am. This year, that emotion has turned into so much more of a positive than a negative.’’
Bailey, Reds close
Reds starter Homer Bailey said he was ‘‘really close’’ to getting a multiyear deal completed before a scheduled arbitration hearing Thursday.
He wouldn’t confirm reports that the sides are negotiating on a six-year deal, but said, ‘‘There’s a lot of things that we have in place. I feel the majority of it’s fairly worked out . . . we’re really close.’’
Bailey, 27 made $5,350,000 last season. He asked for $11.6 million in arbitration and the Reds offered $8.7 million. Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA last season, including his second career no-hitter.
Garza took a pass
Righthander Matt Garza told MLB.com he passed on an offer from the Los Angeles Angels because he was on vacation with his wife in Turks & Caicos and didn’t want to be disturbed. The deal was reportedly worth $52 million over four years. He instead signed a four-year contract with the Brewers worth $50 million. “I was on vacation with my wife, and I didn’t want to be disturbed,” Garza said. “It was like, ‘Here it is, we’ll pull it in a certain amount of hours.’ I didn’t have a chance to respond, so I just said, ‘Whatever. It is what it is.’ ” . . . The Rockies’ new closer is a familiar face. On the first day of spring training, 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins was given the job by manager Walt Weiss. Hawkins was a member of the Rockies in 2007 when they lost to Boston in the World Series. He saved 13 games last season for the Mets. Colorado’s bullpen, which had a National League-worst 4.23 ERA last season, also added Boone Logan, who was signed away from the Yankees, and Franklin Morales is beginning his second stint in Colorado after being acquired from the Red Sox . . . Manager Joe Girardi wouldn’t go into detail on any problem the Yankees might have had with former second baseman Robinson Cano’s lack of hustle at times. Hitting coach Kevin Long was quoted in Monday’s editions of the New York Daily News as saying, ‘‘If somebody told me I was a dog, I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.’’ . . . The Mets will honor late broadcaster Ralph Kiner by wearing a uniform patch all season and having an on-field ceremony on Opening Day. Kiner, who joined the Mets’ broadcast team in the club’s inaugural season of 1962 after a 10-year Hall of Fame playing career, died Feb. 6 at age 91.