Cleveland Indians: Why Picking Up Ubaldo Jimenez's Option Was the Wrong Move

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Cleveland Indians: Why Picking Up Ubaldo Jimenez's Option Was the Wrong Move
David Maxwell/Getty Images

After finishing in fourth place in the AL Central with a 65-91 record, the Cleveland Indians decided some major changes needed to be made.

One of the most significant changes came when they promptly fired manager Manny Acta and replaced him with former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona

However, one move that has been highly criticized by Cleveland fans is the recent re-signing of pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. 

It was recently reported that the Indians will pick up Jimenez's option for the 2013 season, which will cost the team $5.75 million. 

While many still view Jimenez as the right-handed dominant pitcher from his days with the Rockies, there is no reason to assume that he will ever return to that form. 

During the 2012 season, Jimenez went 9-and-17 with a 5.40 ERA and a WHIP of 1.613; these are all career highs for the Indians' starting pitcher. 

Even worse are Jimenez's total numbers while joining Cleveland during the 2011 season right before the July 31st trade deadline. Jimenez has a combined record of 13-and-21, an ERA of 5.25, and a WHIP of 1.5335. 

More interesting and eye-opening are Jimenez's Sabermetric numbers with the Cleveland Indians when compared to the rest of his career. 

During the 2012 season, Jimenez had a WAR rating of minus-1.0, which means that an average Triple A player would have provided one more win for the Indians than Jimenez did last season.   

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

At one point during the 2010 season with Colorado, Jimenez had an incredible WAR rating of 7.3; he was also an All-Star and finished third in the Cy Young award race. 

After the 2010 season, however, Jimenez saw a dramatic drop-off in his WAR rating, as his combined WAR rating during 2011 with both Colorado and Cleveland was a 0.4. 

In a division like the AL Central, it is important to have starting pitching that is effective, as this division is most always hotly contested throughout the season.

Throughout his career, Jimenez has a 4.735 ERA against the teams in the AL Central, which include Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City and Minnesota

Another shocking statistic is Jimenez's numbers in opposing ballparks.  As most people know, the White Sox and Tigers are annually battling for the division championship. 

Therefore, it is important to go into those ballparks with starting pitchers who can go the distance.  When pitching at U.S. Cellular Field, which is the home of the White Sox, Jimenez has a 7.91 ERA; at Comerica Park in Detroit, his ERA is another sky-high number, 7.45. 

Based upon all of the numbers, there is no reason to assume that Jimenez will be able to return to the form that made him such a commodity during his time with Colorado.

While this may be a cheap option for the Indians during 2013, they have to hope that he will be able to improve his numbers against teams within their division. 

If not, they are in for another long season in Cleveland. 

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