Trading franchise players is dumb. Bottom line.
Even with the Rockies season on life support, and the trade deadline looming, it’s still asinine to even consider dealing Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez might be having a rough 2011, further compounded by his shaky performance in yesterday’s outing (5 IP, 5 ER, 8 H). But I still believe Ubaldo is a franchise player, and trading him for a bunch of prospects is not a good idea. Pitching is a treasured commodity in baseball, and Ubaldo is not an everyday pitcher. His stuff can be lethal and his velocity can be tremendous.
Just because this season might be lost, does not mean the Rockies should lose Ubaldo for the rest of his career. Just because the Rockies are “sellers” in this year’s trade market, does not mean they should blow up the nucleus of their pitching staff.
Regardless of the sport, trading franchise players usually leaves teams worse off. Just take a look at some other major sport teams in Denver.
Remember when the Broncos hired Josh McDaniels? He tried to trade Jay Cutler behind his back, and then to make matters worse, lied to Cutler’s face about the whole situation. So then Cutler’s feelings were hurt and he pouted, and the player/coach relationship had been so fractured, that the Broncos then traded their franchise quarterback.
How did that work out for the Broncos? Let’s see here. Well, the Broncos are literally one of the league’s worst teams now, after having the second pick in the NFL draft. And the coach that atom-bombed their internal framework has since been fired. Oh, and what about Cutler and his new team, the Chicago Bears? They were one win away from the Super Bowl last season, with Cutler missing the second half due to injury. Cutler seemed to play the “pout card” once again during that game, which led many people to question Cutler’s attitude. But even with Cutler’s questionable demeanor, there is no question trading him away set the franchise back for years to come. The Broncos were 4-12 last season, setting a franchise record for the most losses in a single season.
Good trade Broncos. Really came out smelling like roses on that one.
The Nuggets also recently shipped their franchise player out of town as well, although the circumstances were much different. Carmelo Anthony was a bona-fide NBA superstar and a legit franchise player. But he wanted out, and the Nugs agreed to trade him. Melo enjoyed his 7-plus seasons in the Rocky Mountains, but obviously yearned to play underneath the bright lights of the NYC. Melo basically held the Nuggets hostage for half a season, but Nuggets brass did well knowing Melo was out the door regardless. The Nuggets eventually received a lion’s share in return. They should not plummet to the basement of the league. Their roster remains respectable and their coach remains determined.
But they still don’t have a franchise player on their squad anymore, a prolific scorer who can take over a game. And that does not bode well for the future of the Nuggets.
Do you know what the difference is between Cutler, Melo and Ubaldo? Cutler and Melo were disgruntled. Ubaldo is not. Tracy and Jimenez don’t have a player/coach rift or any trust issues. Jimenez is not holding the Rockies hostage. Ubaldo actually wants to be here, which makes the prospect of trading him even more ridiculous.
Maybe if it was a contract year or maybe if Ubaldo requested a trade, than it would be kosher to send the right-handed flamethrower to another suitor. But he’s under contract until 2014, and he has not requested a trade.
In fact, Ubaldo has confirmed repeatedly that he loves it here in Denver.
That’s music to the ears of everyone in Rockies country and should be all that Dan O’Dowd needs to hear. Trading a franchise player like Ubaldo Jimenez would be dumb.
Contact the writer, Zach Cohn, at email@example.com.