For years Indians fans have ragged on the current ownership and front office for being too passive and standing pat. However, yesterday the team made a very un-Tribe-like move in obtaining Ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies. In the deal the Tribe gave up two highly touted pitching prospects, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, and two other minor league prospects. Some feel that they gave up too much for Jimenez, but here is why the Indians made the best move for now, and (contrary to popular belief) the future as well.
The Tribe is currently a game and a half out of first place in the AL Central behind the Detroit Tigers. Many fans were hoping for a huge sexy name to place into the starting lineup to bolster run support (as a side note, if Choo and Size come back healthy it's like we obtained two all star bats). However, they went out and obtained a young pitcher with a nasty repertoire and a contract that had teams all around the league drooling for him.
Granted, Jimenez's stats were not quite what they were last year at first glance, but if you examine his stats closely you will see why Cleveland may have struck it big with this deal. In Colorado Jimenez's ERA was a high 5.55 with an opponent batting average of .310 and nine home runs allowed. On the other side of the line his away stats are a 3.38 ERA with a batting average of .183 and one homerun allowed.
Now, I am not a very smart man by any means, but to me that line away from Coors Field is worth the risk of giving up two unproven, hyped pitching prospects. This team has a chance to win now and in the future. With Jiminez controlled through 2013 at a low cost this trade gives the Tribe an ace in the staff for several years to go with an already amazing starting rotation and bullpen.
Championships are won through pitching. The San Francisco Giants are a prime example of this and the Indians are following suit with a rotation of Jimenez, Masterson, Tomlin, Huff/Carrasco, and a rested and recovered Fausto Carmona. If Carmona can continue to pitch the way he has since returning from the DL, then this rotation has the potential to be one of the best in MLB for years to come.
I am all for building a strong and deep farm system, but the future was already in the majors with Chiz, Kip, Brantley, Masterson and Tomlin in the everyday lineup. I know White and Pomeranz were fantastic prospects, but what's to say they will ever pan out to be anything? White has already been injured with the ligament in his finger and Pomeranz had a hamstring issue earlier in the year. So in my opinion, trading two top prospects who are unproven and injury prone for a pitcher who can be an anchor and mentor in the rotation is a win a hundred times over.