This is getting downright disgraceful.
After his last start, I proclaimed to be officially off “the Ubaldo Jimenez will turn it around” bandwagon. Many of you told me that I was hasty and needed to give him more time to find himself. Was last night’s horrific performance where he lasted just four and two-thirds innings while walking six Chicago White Sox, enough for you to sound your alarms?
I don’t care that it is May 2nd, it is time for everyone to face the facts – to use a Texas Hold em’ analogy, the Indians went all in on a pair of threes. They were fleeced. Rooked. Jobbed. Whatever you want to call it.
It’s one thing to be struggling as Ubaldo. It’s another to be completely lost mechanically. Couple that with the fact that his velocity, which we were told was down last year because of injury, has still yet to return. It may never. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal of this were some average pitcher that the Wahoos didn’t have much stake in. They would just send him down to AAA and replace him with either Kevin Slowey, Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber, or Scott Barnes. But the Indians don’t have that luxury, because we are talking about the guy they mortgaged the future for.
It is immaterial at this point as to what happens with Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. Even if they turn out to be average pitchers during their Major League careers, the Rockies will have won this deal.
GM Chris Antonetti decided last year that he was going to make a bold move that he believed would be his signature trade. At the time, I was on board for this deal, despite Ubaldo’s struggles in 2011. I, like Antonetti and his lieutenants, should have seen the red flags a mile away. Why would the Rockies, a team that competes for a division title with young stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and looking for more starting pitching, be so willing to dump their supposed “ace” with a club friendly contract for another two and a half years?
We were sold on the “he was disgruntled in Colorado because they wouldn’t extend him” bit because we didn’t care. We were getting a then 27-year old front line starter with a Cleveland-esque contract to boot. So what if it would cost them both of their top pitching prospects, they wanted to win now.
But now we look up, Ubaldo is a mess, they have zero depth in AAA or AA in terms of position players, left field and first base will need long term upgrades, and you don’t have Pomeranz or White to use as trade chips to make a deal.
We are stuck with Ubaldo too. Antonetti’s backup plan if the Indians didn’t contend with Jimenez on board was to spin him off at the 2013 trade deadline and hold a bidding war to contenders. They gave up two former first round picks to get him and the way things are going, they wouldn’t get more than a fringe prospect or two for him. Sure, some team could think they could turn him around, but anyone who has watched him this last year plus knows he is not the same.
According to a great piece on http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-decline-of-ubaldo-jimenez/ , Ubaldo’s average velocity has fallen from 96.1 in 2009 and 2010 to 93.5 in 2011 to 92.0 in 2012. And the command? Forget it. This was a guy who was a strikeout machine from 08-10. Thus far this season, Ubaldo has 20 walks and 14 K’s in 28.1 innings pitched. He’s been erratic and a strain on the bullpen. It’s not like we are talking about the fifth starter here. This is the guy who was hailed as the key to the rotation’s success.
Instead, he is the guy you would least like to take the ball from Manny Acta if his team needed one win. Ask yourself these questions. Who would you rather start right now – Josh Tomlin or Ubaldo? Jeanmar Gomez or Ubaldo?
The whole thing is disappointing beyond words.
Antonetti, a GM running a team with zero margin, cannot swing and miss on a big trade like this one. We are only a half year into the deal, and it looks like a colossal mistake.