Thoughts on the Ubaldo Jimenez Deal

Going into the trade deadline, it was apparent the Cleveland Indians were going to make what would be considered a “big deal” and they did not disappoint. As the deadline approached, the Indians traded prospects Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Matt McBride and Joe Gardner to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The Indians will be getting an ace in Jimenez but many are wondering if the Indians gave up too much to get one player.

Since the Dolan family took over the Indians years ago, building the team through draft picks and prospects has been the front office strategy for building a contender. Pomeranz and White were both considered to be top prospects within the Indians organization and both were drafted in hopes they could help the Indians win as they developed. McBride and Gardner were brought in for similar reasons and some consider the fact that the Indians gave up four potentially good prospects for one player as a surprise.

Earlier this season, White was impressive for the Indians in three starts and it seems unusual the Indians would deal him away this soon. Even though he was sidelined with a finger injury, White had a 3.60 ERA in three starts and seemed to be relaxed and ready for the big league level. White is also young at the age of 22 and with inconsistent pitching from Carlos Carrasco, Mitch Talbot (who was designated for assignment by the Indians) and Fausto Carmona, it seems strange the Indians did not give White more of an opportunity to showcase his talents. White showed potential and it may seem that the Indians are giving up on him too soon.

Close to a year ago, the Indians had high hopes when Drew Pomeranz was drafted and it seems that giving him up this early on could be a risky move. Pomeranz is only at AA Akron, has lots of potential and was considered to be one of the top prospects in the Indians’ farm system. Trading him away this early may be a decision the Indians regret should he live up to his potential and become an ace for another team.

Even though the Indians did give up a lot of prospects, they did fill a hole in the rotation by obtaining Jimenez. Jimenez was considered to be one of the best pitchers for the Rockies over the last couple of seasons and will help fill a void in the Indians’ rotation. As Carmona and Talbot have struggled this season, the Indians have needed to find another pitcher for the rotation. Alex White was hurt with a finger injury earlier this season and Jeanmar Gomez has struggled when given the opportunity to start for the Tribe this season. The Indians needed another pitcher as the race for first place in the AL Central continues and seems to have gotten that with Jimenez.

While this trade will help the Indians in the short term, many are questioning what effects this trade will have long term. The trade was made with a “win-now” attitude and while that worked at times for the Indians’ teams of the mid-to-late ’90s, it proved to be costly in the end. During that era, prospects ad key players such as Brian Giles, Sean Casey, Danny Graves, and Richie Sexson were all traded for veterans such as John Smiley, Jeff Branson, Steve Woodard, Bob Wickman, Jason Bere and Ricardo Rincon. Giles, Casey, Graves and Sexson went on to have great careers outside of Cleveland while some of the players the Indians got did not live to full potential. Smiley ended up breaking his arm while warming up in the bullpen and rarely pitched for the Tribe, Branson was mainly used as a utility infielder, Wickman did make a lot of saves for the Indians but Woodard, Bere and Rincon were all considered to be disappointments. The Indians traded away quite a bit of future to get these players and other teams managed to benefit as a result of these trade.

While the Indians did not disappoint at the trade deadline and landed Jimenez, the main question people are asking is did they give up too much.



~ by jeffrsabo on July 31, 2011.

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