Rox mull long-term deal for Jimenez

Rockies mull long-term deal for Jimenez

LAS VEGAS -- The Rockies will soon determine whether to offer right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez a multiyear contract, similar to what the club has done with several of its other young stars.

The Rockies signed starters Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis to long-term deals before they reached free agency. Last winter, they signed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, reliever Manuel Corpas and right fielder Brad Hawpe to multiyear deals. Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said Monday that Jimenez could be next.

Jimenez went 12-12 with a 3.99 ERA in 34 starts last season -- his first full year in the Majors. In 2007, Jimenez, long a touted prospect, went 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 15 regular-season starts to help the team into the playoffs, and 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three postseason starts.

"Ubaldo is something we're studying now to see if there's some reason to pursue that," O'Dowd said. "We'll get into that after the first of the year."

Francis and Cook have been at the front of the Rockies' rotation for the last three years, but the Rockies see Jimenez as having a better arm than either. Jimenez was dominant at times last year, especially after the All-Star break (8-3, 3.68 ERA in 14 starts).

O'Dowd said he doesn't want such discussions to extend into Spring Training.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.