COMMENTARY | I will come out and say what very few local sportswriters will say--the Cleveland Indians screwed up when they traded for Ubaldo Jimenez. The fan base has made that sentiment known from the moment the trade occurred while the media has touted "give it time" and "wait and see" as not to upset the bigwigs sitting in their offices on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Since coming to Cleveland on August 16, 2011, in a trade with the Colorado Rockies in exchange for prospects Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, and two others, Jimenez's performance has been lackluster, to put it kindly. To make matters worse, he is earning $8 million this season to pair with the $4.2 million he earned last season.
Through May 2, 2013, he posts an Indians record of 14-23 with a 5.48 ERA. He has given up 36 home runs in just 47 games and is currently boasting a 7.13 ERA in 2013. His 9-17 record in 2012 is cringe-worthy as he led the league in losses and wild pitches. To say he has had control issues would be an understatement.
The Indians did not exactly sell the farm to acquire Jimenez even though it felt that way at the time. Pomeranz was touted as the ace of the future but he has yet to make a big splash in the majors. In two major league seasons he has posted a 4-10 record paired with a 5.01 ERA. He is currently in Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League where he is posting a 4-0 record and a 2.54 ERA.
White went 4-13 with a 6.03 ERA in two seasons with Colorado. He has since been traded to the Houston Astros where he is sitting on the 60-day Disabled List with a right elbow strain.
It is my belief the Indians lucked out by White and Pomeranz falling into mediocrity. Had they developed into the projected aces they were to say to be headed toward, the public outcry would be far worse than the collective groan that can be heard throughout the city when it is realized Jimenez is scheduled to take the mound.
The front office may have earned redemption acquiring Trevor Bauer in the three-team deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds on December 11, 2012. In Bauer they have landed a highly talented young pitcher that is already paying dividends in spot-start situations. He has some work to do in the minors working on his control and limiting the number of walks per game, but he has already proven he can handle the pressure of facing major league hitters without giving up runs. In two starts this year he is posting a 1-1 record paired with a 2.70 ERA. Those are respectable numbers for an ace in the making.
How do you feel about Ubaldo Jimenez trade or the acquisition of Trevor Bauer? Let me know in the comments below.
Paul Rados is a Cleveland based freelance writer and avid supporter of the Cleveland Indians. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados
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