Something’s been bothering me for a while: The fact that Cleveland Indians fans around the nation cannot stop complaining about the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.
In all fairness, I didn’t like the deal as it happened. I truly see Drew Pomeranz as a future ace or top number two starter. At the time, Alex White looked like a great mid-rotation option with strong strikeout potential and a great sinker. But regardless, they’re no longer Indians. And that’s a fact that fans who are still pining for Pomeranz and White need to accept.
Right now, I’m not sure what kind of future Alex White has at the Major League level. He was traded while on the DL with a finger tendon injury, and while the Indians’ brass claimed it wasn’t serious (and nowhere near to the degree of the health problems former top prospect Adam Miller suffered from), I have a gut feeling the effects of that will linger. The reason? He hasn’t been the same pitcher since the injury.
White breezed through the minors with ease while in the Cleveland organization, and had a solid showing in three starts with the big league club holding a 3.60 ERA, despite a high walk rate (5.4 BB/9). In Colorado, it’s been ugly. White made seven starts at the end of 2011 for the Rockies, and his walk rate was still too high (4.0 BB/9) and his K/9 rate was very low for his standards (5.9 K/9). This added up to a 8.42 ERA and ERA+ of 54. In his two starts in 2012, those peripherals haven’t changed much (4.2 BB/9, 5.1 K/9) and it adds up to a 6.75 ERA and ERA+ of 67.
Now, I’m not trying to go and call Alex White a bust after 10 starts, but he hasn’t shown us much at the Major League level. The fact that he wasn’t given a spot on the Opening Day roster was telling seeing as the Rockies instead went with pitchers with considerably less upside like Jamie Moyer and Jeremy Guthrie. To White’s credit, he did pitch well at Triple-A this year with a 2.92 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 7.7 K/9. But Triple-A stats mean nothing when you trade your ace for this guy.
Drew Pomeranz is a different story. He’s a guy I probably would have ranked ahead of Francisco Lindor as the top prospect in the Indians’ system this winter if he hadn’t been dealt. I’m a huge supporter of Pomeranz, and own him on all six of my fantasy teams (my addiction is a different story, alright?).
I believe the Rockies rushed Pomeranz last year, especially since they had no real reason to call him up, and it has become apparent he isn’t ready for the Majors. In nine MLB starts the past two years, Pomeranz holds a 5.01 ERA and an ERA+ of 90. Obviously, he has plenty of time to still improve and he’s currently at Triple-A to work on that, but this year he’s really seemed lost on the mound.
While his strikeout numbers were solid (7.8 K/9) with that devastating curveball he has he could strikeout closer to a batter an inning. His walk rate was the most concerning as it was 5.9 BB/9 in his five starts this year. He’s also given up a ton of contact (9.6 H/9 in his career). Pomeranz’s changeup was always his biggest weakness, and it has showed thus far. He really needs a lot more seasoning at Triple-A to hone that pitch if he’s going to reach his potential. If the Rockies expect him to succeed with just his fastball and curve, he’s probably only going to find success in the bullpen.
I don’t even want to factor in Jimenez’s struggles. He has shown flashes of his former self this year, while White and Pomeranz haven’t flashed their potential nearly as much. But even if he hadn’t, the fact of the matter is that Indian fans need to start supporting Jimenez as he works through his struggles if they want him to be a successful pitcher.
How would you feel if your parents said they would’ve preferred a child of the opposite sex instead of you? That’s what I think of when people tell me they would rather still have Pomeranz and White. What’s done is done, so everyone go out and buy a Jimenez jersey and show the guy the same love you would have if Pomeranz or White were on the mound.