The trade rumors that have been swirling around Ubaldo Jimenez for the last month have been surreal to say the least. Trading Ubaldo was not something that was expected by Rockies fans before the season started. But, what took place in San Diego tonight went beyond surreal. More aptly, it was a total fiasco. The last image Rockies’ fans have of Ubaldo is him walking off the field after the most bizarre and awkward half inning in recent memory. Jimenez looked discouraged and disinterested as he pitched for a team that had just traded him. Why he was on the mound is anyone’s guess, but it sure seemed like a slap in the face to a pitcher who, in just a short period of time, established himself as the best to ever take the mound for the Rockies.
Six months ago, the Rox were selling everyone on the championship core they had built with Tulo, Cargo, and Ubaldo. How quickly things can change. Jimenez got off to a rough start this year, and, despite a turnaround over the last couple of months, the Rockies decided that they could get better by trading the big right-hander. Whether they did or not will likely decide Dan O’Dowd’s legacy as GM of the Rox. Without a doubt, this was the biggest transaction of his tenure with the team. Some would point to the Matt Holliday/Cargo trade as being a move that was equally significant, but getting something for the departing Holliday doesn’t compare to trading an ace, in his prime, with three cheap years left on his current contract.
It should be mentioned that this move probably removes the Rockies from contention next year. Of the four players the Rockies received in return for Jimenez, pitcher Alex White is the most ready. He’s actually made three starts for the Indians this year. But, while White has enormous potential, it’s not likely that he is ready to produce like Ubaldo. With De La Rosa questionable to start the season, and the back end of their rotation currently looking shaky, the Rockies appear to have resigned themselves to rebuilding in 2012.
More than anything, the deal carries an enormous amount of risk. The Rockies aren’t getting anyone with big league experience. And, Drew Pomeranz, the biggest piece coming to the Rockies in the trade, only has 91 career professional innings. Sure, he’s been dominant in AA this year, but so was Juan Nicasio and nobody is prepared to say he’s a sure thing. For this to truly be worth it one of either Pomeranz or White needs to become the Rockies’ number one starter in the near future. Nobody can guarantee that type of thing.
Honestly, I don’t know enough about the four prospects to truly know if this was a good deal or not, but there are some saying it was a steal for the Indians (info on the four players the Rockies received in return for Ubaldo). And, based on what we were told it would take to get Ubaldo, it seems like that there shouldn’t be any doubt about which team came out on top in this deal. Maybe O’Dowd went and got a couple of future aces, but if he didn’t, this day that will be rued in Denver for a very long time to come. If the GM just traded the best pitcher ever to wear the purple pinstripes and didn’t improve the team, he will never be forgiven.
The organization took a step back today. This move is an acknowledgement that they can’t win with their current team. It’s also an acknowledgement that they don’t really like what they have in the farm system. Hopefully, it will allow them to eventually take three giant steps forward. After all, they just picked up two top ten draft picks. However, one has to be worried that it’s an overreaction. Only time will tell.
Good-bye, Ubaldo. Thanks for everything you gave us during your time in Colorado. It was truly our pleasure.