The Cleveland Indians made a splash at the trade deadline and they acquired their ace. It came in the form of Ubaldo Jiminez; the stellar young pitcher from the Colorado Rockies. They gave up a lot of prospects to make the deal, but the Indians still have a rich system behind them and still have enough young talent to make a run for the next few seasons.
Cleveland sees Ubaldo as a pitcher who can anchor their rotation not only this season but for several seasons to come. But wading through the hype and excitement of the 2011 MLB trade deadline, here’s a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly for Ubaldo Jiminez.
Ubaldo Jiminez is the outstanding pitcher with a no hitter under his belt and who got off to the blistering start last season. Into last June, he had an astounding ERA of 0.93 and already had 10 wins. He closed out the first half with a 14-1 record and an ERA of 1.83.
After trading away Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia, the Indians have finally acquired a pitcher of their own. Ubaldo has it in him to be the ace of a competitive team and he can lead the Indians for several more seasons. He brings experience to the young Indians rotation and is a guy who can match up against other aces in the first game of a round of playoffs.
Most of his success came in the first half of last season. Since then he’s 15-19 with an ERA of 4.40. This season has been more of the same for him with a 9-6 record and a 4.46 ERA. The Yankees were at one point looking to acquire him at the trade deadline, but questions about his health caused them to pull out.
They pulled out with good reason. The Yankees already have a pitcher who had a fantastic first half of 2011 only to be a shell of that pitcher ever since. His name is Phil Hughes and it looks as though he’ll have one more start to impress before he’s moved to the bullpen or off the team. Ubaldo isn’t Phil Hughes, but he isn’t the 14-1, 1.83 pitcher he was last season either.
Preface this by saying that it’s common for players involved in trades to be immediately pulled from the game to prevent injury. Now that that’s out of the way, Ubaldo did make his last start before he was traded during the first inning. During that first inning he allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks during a 45 pitch inning.
This isn’t the National League West. This isn’t even the National League where teams like the Phillies and Giants rule on the strength of great pitching. This is the American League where powerhouse lineups like the Red Sox and Yankees are slugging their way to the top. Many NL pitchers have had a tough transition into the American League.
It’s a good thing the paperwork was already well underway and close to being finished. A 45 pitch inning in his last start for the Rockies has them welcoming the new prospects and looking ahead to the future.
At 27 years old there is still ample time for him to turn it around and find that outstanding pitcher we saw early last season. All he has to do is help the team win and nobody will be breaking down his stats to a great extent. But if the Indians fall short and Ubaldo doesn’t turn it around, this is the sort of trade that could hurt the Indians for seasons to come. They bought high on Ubaldo but they certainly aren’t a team who can afford a bad contract or a mistake trade.