MLB Trade Deadline: Why the Rockies Would Be Foolish to Trade Ubaldo Jimenez

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2011

Ubaldo Jimenez’s name has been swirling around MLB trade rumors for much of the past several weeks. It’s not often a 27-year-old fresh off the best season of his young career will likely be dealt, but it seems that’s exactly what the Colorado Rockies are looking to do. 

Jimenez was 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA last year, finishing third in the NL Cy Young Award voting. He actually began the year 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA, taking an MLB-best 15 wins into the All-Star break before drastically cooling off in the second half of the season.

Since the break, Jimenez is just 10-16 with an ERA hovering around 4.00. 

Maybe the Rockies should trade him. Maybe he peaked last year, and he just isn’t the same pitcher anymore. 

Or maybe the Rockies just need to have a little bit of patience with their young ace. Jimenez is a rare pitcher, a young guy in his prime who is one of the best in the game.

Jimenez is just 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA this year, numbers that certainly don’t seem to indicate that he is one of the best in the game.

However, following a morbid start to the year, he has really settled down.

Jimenez went 10 straight starts without allowing more than three runs, and he only gave up more than two in one of those. 

Jimenez rated as the eighth-best pitcher in the National League in June, a month in which he rebounded from a dreadful April and May to go 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in six starts.

He’s been the fifth-best pitcher in the National League so far in July, a month in which he is 3-2 with a 3.77 ERA, but has a FIP of 2.76 and an outstanding 11.03 K/9 rate. 

Why in the world would the Rockies trade him? He’s a bona-fide star, the type of pitcher who is a legit ace in this game.

Jimenez showed flashes of potential back in 2007 and was a very good pitcher in both ’08 and ’09 before breaking out last year. He took a step back to start off this year, but now he’s back at the top of his game. 

While Red Sox and Indians are the top teams apparently pursuing Jimenez, the Blue Jays and Reds are also interested, and the Yankees can never be counted out concerning any big-time prospect.

The Rockies are reportedly asking for three top prospects in exchange for Jimenez.

But prospects don’t always develop, and Jimenez is just too good and too much of a force for the Rockies to part with, especially considering he is still under team control for the rest of this year plus two more years.