Showalter says Orioles targeted Cruz, Jimenez early

Showalter says Orioles targeted Cruz, Jimenez early
February 25, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Jones: "Buck puts in people that have been told no"

(John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

SARASOTA, Fla. – The happiest man around Orioles camp these days is Dan Duquette. For weeks, Duquette was on edge with few tangible results to show for the winter.

February has been different. After coming up short in their attempt to sign Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett, the Orioles now have an arguably superior pitcher, in a better deal.

Ubaldo Jimenez’s four-year, $50 million contract was more cost effective than Matt Garza or Ricky Nolasco, two pitchers with similear deals who the team showed little interest in.

Nelson Cruz’s one-year, $8 million contract was a bargain.

[RELATED: Cruz an easy fit]

Manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday that Cruz and Jimenez were targeted early in the free agent process.

“You’ve got to look at next year’s free agent list when you’re doing things this year. They were high on the list of pitchers and position players. It wasn’t like, all of a sudden, ‘well that’s what’s left. We’re going to have to settle for that,’” Showalter said.

Showalter said his wife discouraged him from phoning Duquette as often as he did, telling him not to bother him on Christmas Day.

NOTE: The Orioles will hold Tag Day on March 8 from 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. Unsold season tickets can be purchased in full season, 29-game and 13-game plans. Free parking will be available in Lot A.