Cleveland Indians Show Commitment to Win Now with Ubaldo Jimenez Deal

Charlie TaylorContributor IIIJuly 30, 2011

Can Ubaldo Jimenez be the ace the Indians are looking for?
Can Ubaldo Jimenez be the ace the Indians are looking for?Denis Poroy/Getty Images

According to multiple sources the Cleveland Indians are the big winner of the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes, out bidding such suitors as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Cincinnati Reds among others.

Jimenez made his scheduled start for the Rockies Saturday, but was pulled after just one inning as the clubs ironed out the final details of the deal.

I absolutely love this deal for the Indians. I realize they are giving up four prospects, a couple of which are highly touted. I also realize that good young arms are tough to come by and they are parting with three. But that is what happens when you are pitted against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox in trade negotiations.

Since the Tribe are having a season in which they are greatly exceeding expectations and it just so happens to coincide with a vulnerable and very winnable year in AL Central, it is simply too much to ignore. This looks to me to be a move in which the front office is rewarding the players for the way they have fought, scratched, and clawed for four months this season to put them within a couple games of the division lead and I love it. It doesn’t seem that teams unexpectedly finding themselves in a sudden playoff race are rewarded like this often enough.

The front office knows that the pitching staff has struggled as of late and they are not throwing like they were in April and May. They also know that Fausto Carmona is 5-10, sporting a 5.34 ERA, and has been anything but the staff ace he was suppose to be. If they are going to make a serious run the rest of the season they needed a top of the rotation type of talent. Although Ubaldo himself is having a down year for his standards, he still is fully capable of fitting the bill as that top of the rotation starter. Perhaps this deal lights the fire under him he needs to find whatever it is that he has been missing thus far this year and the AL will be just what the doctor order for Jimenez.

Jimenez started for the Rockies Saturday, but lasted only one inning before exiting what could be his last game for Colorado.
Jimenez started for the Rockies Saturday, but lasted only one inning before exiting what could be his last game for Colorado.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The front office also showed they are looking to win now earlier this week when they reached a deal with the Chicago Cubs for Kosuke Fukudome. This was another case of the Indians being proactive, seeing a glaring need that has come up as the season progressed, and addressing it. With both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Sho Choo on the disabled list, they are in desperate need for a guy who can step in immediately and consistently get on base for Travis Hafner and Asdrubal Cabrera. They are hoping Fukudome can do just that for them and bridge the gap until those other guys can get healthy.

In the end have the Indians given up quite a bit and mortgaged part of their future to roll the dice and try and get to an AL Central title this year? It’s possible, but I don’t think they gave up too much. In both cases there was a need and they did something to try to address that hole. There’s no guarantee that any of the prospects will turn out to be big time house hold name talent just like there is no guarantee that Jimenez or Fukudome will substantially contribute to a division title. That’s the gamble they take. But with the Central being so winnable now, I like the moves to go get ready to go Major League talent.

At worst if they happen to come up short this year, Jimenez is still signed through at least next season and at a very affordable price. He can stick around and be part of the process with the rest of the young talent Cleveland has assembled. Part of the process that now has been sped up to win and win now.

Go Tribe!