Trade Analysis: Jimenez Deal A Perplexing One

Trade Analysis: Jimenez Deal A Perplexing One

It's difficult to fault an organization for trying to win in their current season. But, it isn't always the right course of action. For the Cleveland Indians, dealing their top two pitching prospects for a pitcher trending in the wrong direction may prove costly in their rebuilding process. And, while Colorado dealing away their young ace is also perplexing, they may have sold just in time.

Ubaldo Jimenez is not the pitcher he was in 2010. The velocity isn't the same, and neither is his command, presence on the mound, or consistency. In any way you can think of, he hasn't been the same pitcher. So, there are two schools of thought. You could say the Rockies sold low, which is universally considered to be a poor philosophy, or you could say they sold before his stock sunk even lower. There's a good chance that Colorado felt they needed to do just that, get out before things got worse.

Pitchers don't drop 3-4 mph in velocity for no reason. And, that's what's happened to Jimenez this season. He's gone from a pitcher who lived above 95 mph and touched triple digits to pitcher who sits around 92-94 and touches 95-96. Granted, he still has plus velocity, but being a pitcher who never relied on pinpoint command and never will, he needs that plus-plus velocity to be an ace again. Without it, he'll likely continue to struggle.

Scouts have long worried about Ubaldo's delivery and how he'd hold up over the long term. Well, he's now 27-years-old and perhaps we're seeing some deterioration. All of this of course is speculation, but his season is worrisome nonetheless. And, if a team like New York or Boston had acquired him it would make a lot more sense. They are clubs that can absorb mistakes. The Cleveland Indians are not a club in position to do that.

In giving up Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, Cleveland surrendered their top two pitching prospects and their top draft selections from 2009 and 2010. Playoff berths are precious commodities, and Cleveland going for one of those spots is understandable but this type of deal could damage their long term playoff chances.

Pomeranz is a big, durable lefty who can run his fastball up to 95 mph and sits mostly around 92-93. He also showed an impressive, plus breaking ball at the Futures Game earlier this month. He shows solid command of these two plus pitches. Pomeranz has marched up the minor league ladder with ease thus far, and he won't be far away from making an impact in Colorado.

Alex White isn't quite the prospect Pomeranz is, but the 6-foot-3 righty is even closer to being big league ready. White will live at 89-93 mph with his fastball, getting it up to 94 on occasion. His best weapon, however, is his plus splitter, which grades out as a plus swing and miss offering at the big league level.

In other words, Cleveland has to be keeping their fingers crossed that Ubaldo Jimenez rebounds and becomes the ace he was in 2010. They gave up two pitchers who could at least be equal production wise to what Jimenez has been this season and they aren't that far away from contributing in the big leagues.

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