Cleveland Indians Acquire Ubaldo Jimenez: Why the Deal Makes No Sense for Tribe

Geordy BoverouxCorrespondent IIJuly 30, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 24:  Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 7-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Multiple sources have reported that the Cleveland Indians have acquired Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez for top prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, along with pitcher Joe Gardner and outfielder Matt McBride.

And I could not be more disgusted with general manager Chris Antonetti.

It is clearly evident that this trade will define Antonetti's legacy. Just like former GM and current president Mark Shapiro is infamous for acquiring Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee for Bartolo Colon, this trade could make or break Antonetti's job security.

Antonetti came out and blatantly lied to Indians fans everywhere when he claimed he would not "mortgage the future" by trading their "untouchable" prospects of Pomeranz, White, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall.

By acquiring Jimenez, he ruined whatever slim chances the Indians had at snapping their World Series drought.

I posted an article over a month ago on this site stating that the Indians have enough pitching depth to make a blockbuster deal, but I wasn't expecting anything like this. I suggested dealing one top prospect along with quality pitchers to acquire a top player for the stretch run.

Instead, Antonetti and the Indians brass decided to deal their top two pitching prospects for one player. They also threw in Gardner who has one of the best sinkers in the minor leagues and McBride, who is a fringe prospect.

I suggested a fair deal that the Indians could offer for Jimenez in an article a few days ago, which included Gardner along with pitcher Zach McAllister and Nick Weglarz. 

This package I thought would be enough to acquire Jimenez since his diminished velocity and the Rockies urgency to trade him should have raised concerns for any buyer, and thus diminish his value. The New York Yankees backed off from dealing more than one of their top prospects, and it was reported that the Reds would not need to offer their top two prospects in order to acquire the 27-year-old right-hander either.

So why did the Indians need to put up three top-10 prospects in Pomeranz, White and Gardner?

The simple answer is that there is no explanation. When every other interested team was backing off, Cleveland does not need to increase their offer to acquire possible damaged goods.

Now that the Indians' once astounding level of pitching talent in the minors is lacking in ace talent, they need to make it their top priority to sign draft picks Dillon Howard and Dillon Peters by the August 15 deadline. Both pitchers have the ability to be front-line starters, unlike any other pitcher in the Indians system.

Jason Knapp is the lone pitcher with stuff nasty enough to anchor a rotation, but he is once again done pitching for the year with yet another injury. If he ever makes his major league debut, it will be in a relief role.

The one thing that nags me the most, is comparing this deal to that of Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia. Not even at the time of both of these deals was the return as good as that which Antonetti gave up for Jimenez; and the players received have not contributed. 

Maybe Pomeranz will not be all he is cracked up to be at the major league level, and perhaps White's finger might turn him into Adam Miller, but those are way too many if's to risk the level of deal that Antonetti just made.

The main reason that Jimenez was such an expensive acquisition is because he has a team-friendly contract that would allow the Indians to control him through 2013. But the Indians only acquired him for a division title in 2011, because now there is no help in the minor leagues to help boost this struggling club to a serious playoff run in the next three years.

Maybe Jimenez will elect to re-sign with Cleveland once his contract expires, but why would he when there is now such an obvious lack of young talent to support him in a title run?

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