New York Yankees: 10 Reasons They Should Have Traded for Ubaldo Jimenez
The highly anticipated trade deadline has come to an end, and as some teams remain satisfied with their season changing trade, others are left without any new contributions to their team, as their main concern now is to remain healthy and consistent.
Unfortunately, the New York Yankees are a part of the latter, as their inability to attain a suitable pitcher may put the Bombers in jeopardy.
There is no doubt about it, the Yankees are in need of pitching, and they have been since Andy Pettitte decided to retire and Cliff Lee chose to stand the Yankees up.
Although the pitching has exceeded expectations greatly, with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia pitching like aces, it would be no surprise if both of these pitchers returned to their inconsistent pitching ways, especially during the pressure filled postseason.
According to Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger, General Manager Joe Girardi stated, “If guys keep stepping up like they’ve been, we should be okay.”
That is easier said than done.
In some respects, it is understandable why the Yankees were reluctant to trade for Jimenez. After all, the Colorado Rockies were after Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. The Rockies also refused to let Jimenez take a pre-trade physical exam, which was understandable for the Yankees to demand after his drop in velocity this season.
As the Cleveland Indians attained this ace pitcher, many were left to wonder, should we have just let him go?
Here are 10 reasons why the Yankees should have traded for Ubaldo Jimenez.
No. 10: Montero's Slow Start Could Have Made the Trade Doable
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The Colorado Rockies demanded a lot from the Yankees in exchange for Ubaldo Jimenez. It is understandable why Cashman refused to give up prospects Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Ivan Nova. After all, they are the future of the New York Yankees. However, in regards to just Jesus Montero, would the trade have been worth it?
In Montero's first season with Triple-A, he started off slow, batting a .226 in the first two months of the season with 17 runs, 37 hits, nine doubles and only three home runs. Although Montero has improved from the beginning of the season, he is not performing like the athlete he used to be, maintaining a .283 batting average.
Montero is only 21 years old, and entering a hitting slump is understandable at his age, especially after joining the demanding Triple-A. It is no secret that keeping Montero in the long run is a wise decision for the Yankees and their future, as he is expected to shine in the majors. However, for the present, the Yankees are in need of a starting pitcher, and Jimenez was the man for the job. If the Yankees want to advance to the playoffs and have a chance of entering and winning the World Series, maybe trading Montero would have been worth it.
No. 9: Past Yankee Trade Success
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The Yankees have never been known for making season changing trades, especially in regards to pitching. The last time the Yankees made a trade was 16 years ago, when the Bombers traded with the Toronto Blue Jays for David Cone on July 28, 1995. We all know how well that turned out. The trade worked out in their favor, as Cone brought the Yankees to a World Series victory that year, their first victory in 18 years. The Yankees went on to win the 1998, 1999 and 2000 World Series with Cone on their team. That trade was definitely season changing for the Yankees.
The last time the Yankees came close to making a trade for a starting pitcher was July 10, 2010, when they almost attained pitcher Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. The deal unfortunately fell through, as Lee ended up joining the Texas Rangers as they entered the World Series, but unfortunately, left without the prestige title.
No. 8: He Has a Reasonable Contract
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The New York Yankees are known to overpay their players and make ridiculous contracts (the perfect example would be Rafael Sorianio's three-year, $35 million contract with an opt out option).
However, Jimenez's contract is actually reasonable and cheap compared to other Yankee contracts. Jimenez will earn $2.8 million in 2011, $4.2 million in 2012, $5.75 million in 2013 and $8 million in 2014, with a club option in both 2013 and 2014.
Compared to the contracts of other Yankee players, Jimenez is basically a steal. Just look at AJ Burnett, who has a five-year, $82.5 million dollar contract with the Yankees. After his inconsistent performance this season, does he really deserve that much? All around, Jimenez is a better, more reliable pitcher than Burnett, whose antics are starting to annoy both the Yankees and their fans.
No. 7: In Regards to the Present, the Trade Was Worth It
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It makes sense for Cashman to refuse to trade for Jimenez. Why would he want to part from his prospects Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Ivan Nova?
Nova maintains a 4.01 ERA at the moment and has a good chance of being a part of the starting rotation, while the others are expected to excel once they enter the majors. However, it is important for the Yankees to make it to October and end the postseason with a World Series title, so does the present outweigh the future?
At the moment, Banuelos maintains a 3.59 ERA as Betances has a 3.43 ERA. So yes, future wise, it is smart for Cashman to not go through with the trade. However, we need a consistent and reliable starting pitcher, and Jimenez was the perfect contribution. Hopefully, the starting rotation can remain healthy and step up so we don't have to kiss another World Series title goodbye.
No. 6: Young and Healthy
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It is no secret that there has been a decrease in Jimenez's velocity this season, as he is pitching a 4.46 ERA, the worst in his career. However, there is no reason to worry. Yes, he is not pitching at his best, but he is still pitching well, and at the age of 27, it is understandable for a pitcher to enter a slump every once in a while.
His fastball averaged 96.1 mph in 2009 and has decreased to 93.4 mph in 2010. However, in his last six starts Jimenez has pitched between 96.1 mph and 96.8 mph, even touching 97 mph.
Jimenez is also not prone to injury as many pitchers are. The only time he has been placed on the DL was earlier this season when he cracked his finger nail. With his shoulder and arm perfectly fine, this minor injury is nothing to worry about.
At the moment, Jimenez is young, healthy and seems to be getting his velocity back.
No. 5: He Could Have Eased the Task of Advancing in Front of the Red Sox
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At the moment, the Yankees are closely trailing behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. It should be easy for the Yankees to advance in front of Boston, right?
The Yankees have been unable to advance, and that is due to Boston's dominant starting rotation.
A part of the team for six seasons now, Jon Lester has done everything but disappoint. The lefty maintains an impressive 3.17 ERA at the moment. He has allowed only 47 runs, 16 home runs and 109 hits. He is the key to their pitching success.
The biggest threat on the team is Josh Beckett. After an injury, Josh Beckett was never the same, pitching a dismal 5.78 ERA last season. Many had their doubts whether Beckett would rebound this year and return to the prestige pitcher he once was. This season, Beckett maintains a 2.17 ERA, allowing 33 runs, nine home runs and only 85 hits so far. Beckett is famously known for his outstanding pitching during the postseason, where he maintains a 3.07 ERA. As always, the Yankees need to watch out for him.
With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka struggling this season and Clay Buchholz out due to injury, Boston has traded for Seattle Mariner Erik Bedard. The injury prone pitcher maintains a 3.45 ERA this season and is expected to aid Boston greatly.
With three consistent pitchers apart of their starting rotation, it may be a difficult feat for the Yankees to advance in front of the Sox without the help of Jimenez.
No. 4: Effective in the Postseason
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For the first time since 1995, the Rockies made the playoffs in 2010 where they versed the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. Jimenez made his postseason debut on October 6th during Game 3. Pitching in six innings, he allowed three hits and only one earned run, as they went on to win 2-1 with Jimenez pitching a 1.42 ERA.
Jimenez pitched again on October 12th in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a 1.80 ERA that game, pitching in five innings and giving up one hit and one earned run, as he helped his team win 3-2.
Although Jimenez pitched well against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, his efforts were not enough. Jimenez started in Game 2 where he allowed three hits and two earned runs in four innings, aiding their 2-1 loss against the Sox. Pitching a 3.86 ERA in that game, the Rockies unfortunately lost the series to the Sox.
Jimenez pitched well in the postseason and after losing Pettitte, that is where we would have needed him the most.
No. 3: He Could Have Aided the Starting Rotation
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With no trades to aid their starting rotation, the Yankees have to stick with their pitchers and hope that each man remains healthy, consistent and does not buckle under pressure.
As always, there is nothing to worry about with CC Sabathia. The ace pitcher has a 2.56 ERA, the highest on the team, allowing only 143 hits and 55 runs. If anyone is going to lead the Yankees to the postseason and to victory, it is Sabathia.
Another Yankee to bring consistency to the mound is Freddy Garcia. Although many had their doubts, including me, Garcia has been pitching like an ace, especially in his last few starts. In his most recent start against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, Garcia struck out six, allowing two runs on five hits. He maintains a 3.22 ERA at the moment.
Although Bartolo Colon has shown a surprising amount of promise this season, maintaining a 3.30 ERA in 109 innings pitched, he has been slacking on the mound lately, leaving all to wonder if he will be coming down to earth any time soon. Although Colon had a victory on Saturday in the Yankees first game of their double header, he wasn't pitching at his absolute best, a trend we have been seeing in his last few starts. Colon allowed two runs on five hits in his five innings pitched. Colon walked two and struck out six in his second shortest start of the season.
In Friday's game against the Orioles, Burnett came up short, allowing a two run home run and a run in both the fourth and sixth innings. Although Burnett struck out ten, completed eight innings and had a decent outing, he is not where we need him to be. In 138.1 innings pitched Burnett maintains a 4.23 ERA and has allowed 116 hits and 71 runs this season. Burnett has good days and bad, but we need him to show some consistency for the remainder of the season.
Another pitcher many are worried about his Phil Hughes. Although he has only started in seven games this season due to a mysterious arm injury, he maintains a lousy 8.24 ERA. His return was highly anticipated but unfortunately, he has not produced the type of pitching he has in the past, coming up decent yet ineffective.
The Yankees at the moment have a decent starting rotation. However, with Burnett and Hughes pitching on and off, it is hard to tell if the Yankees starting rotation is dominant enough to make it through the playoffs. Sure, the Yankees have Ivan Nova, a young pitcher who has earned a spot over Hughes in the starting rotation with a 4.01 ERA. However, trading for Jimenez would have ensured a more dominant rotation and less of a risk when entering the postseason.
No. 2: He Is Consistent and Reliable
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At the age of 27, Ubaldo Jimenez has already made a name for himself as he has exceeded expectations and continues to surprise all.
In his major league debut as a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies on September 26, 2006, he allowed only two hits and no runs in eight innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first major league start on October 1st against the Chicago Cubs he allowed only three hits and three earned runs in six innings pitched.
Jimenez was chosen as the starting pitcher for the NL MLB All-Star Game in 2010 and pitched the first no-hitter in Rockies history on April 17th, 2010. His success didn't end there, Jimenez won the NL pitcher of the month in April and May of 2010.
Jimenez was the third pitcher in MLB history to win 11 out of his first 12 games with an ERA below 1.00 and in 11 starts he produced a .78 ERA, the lowest in MLB history.
He has a career high of 2.88 in 2010 and at the moment maintains a 4.46 ERA in 123 innings pitched, allowing 118 hits, 68 runs and 10 home runs.
No. 1: He Would Have Loved Playing for the Yankees
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It is difficult for certain baseball players to adjust to the atmosphere in New York. With the overbearing media watching each players every move and constantly asking for interviews, and criticizing fans shouting discouraging words from the stands if a player is performing poorly (I admit I am one of them) it may all be too hard for a player to handle. Just look at what happened to Rafael Soriano, a reliever who became known for being unfriendly to the media and pitching poorly once he entered Yankee stadium.
However, it seemed as if Jimenez would have enjoyed playing for New York, transitioning well to the media and fans.
According to CBS senior writer Scott Miller, Jimenez stated, "They have a lot of Dominican people, a lot of Latin people, rooting for that team. It's a great city. I'm ready for whatever."
If adjusted well, Jimenez could have been apart of the Yankees and could have prospered as a pitcher.