Ubaldo Jimenez: Is Indians' Blockbuster Deal Already Proving to Be a Bust?
The Cleveland Indians are on life support, and many are blaming recently-acquired pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez for the Tribe's collapse in the American League Central Division.
Jimenez was expected to help anchor Cleveland's starting rotation, but his 2-1 record in five starts has not been indicative of how inconsistent he has been with his new team. His ERA with the Indians has been a whopping 5.79 and he has pitched more than five innings in only two starts.
However, it would be wrong to point the finger at Jimenez for the Indians' nosedive.
No, Jimenez has not given much help to his hitters or his bullpen, but his bullpen has not helped him, either.
Jimenez had a lackluster debut against the Texas Rangers, but he still left the bullpen with a two-run lead. Closer Chris Perez gave up a two-run homer in the ninth before the Indians went on to lose 7-8 in extra innings.
Just 11 days later, he had another bad performance against the Chicago White Sox and gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings. However, the Bullpen then gave up four more runs. Once again, the Tribe lost 7-8 in extra innings.
Jimenez has not been good, but if the bullpen gave him adequate help he could have easily been 3-1 with a no decision during an Indians victory.
To blame the Indians' decline on any one person would also be ridiculous. The team has collectively played bad baseball for a while now and has been hit with a series of injuries. Grady Sizemore, Jason Kipnis, Travis Hafner and now Michael Brantley have all gone down with significant injuries.
It would also be wrong to say that the trade to acquire Jimenez was a bust. For now, at least.
Although the deal was done for the team's short-term interest, it will probably work out best for 2012.
Adjusting to AL hitters is not easy when you have spent your entire career in the National League, and that is what Jimenez is learning with the Indians.
He has never had to face many of the batters that he is now seeing, and it will take a fair amount of time for him to learn how he can attack opposing hitters.
Jimenez should post significantly better numbers in 2012 after he has seen AL hitting. Unfortunately, he will probably continue to make mistakes for the remainder of this season.
However, as long as he can pitch well in 2012, this trade will not be remembered as a bust.
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