Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Reflecting on Ubaldo Jimenez

It was easy to look back on the Ubaldo Jimenez trade and wonder if keeping Drew Pomeranz and Alex White would have been the better option…at least, that was the case until April 29, when he seemingly turned into the player that the Cleveland Indians traded for.

Since April 29, Jimenez is 4-1 in seven starts, compiling a 2.74 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and a 45:16 K:BB in 42.2 innings.

Seven starts. Is this worth getting excited about considering the other 46 starts? Remember those?

13-23 with a 5.63 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP, a 220:133 K:BB, over 259 innings. 

That is downright disgusting. Disgusting isn’t even the appropriate word, but the FCC probably wouldn’t appreciate the words that would describe that.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Is it a lucky stretch? Is it fair to wonder if Jimenez is “on something” considering his sudden success…probably not, but what is it behind this sudden dominance?

Consistency in his delivery. A focus on throwing strikes. Confidence in his stuff. Throwing his split finger fastball more frequently. A low BABIP (.277). Potentially reaching free agency after this season. Increase in K:9 (9.23 in 2013 vs. 7.28 in 2012). In 2010, when Jimenez won 19 games, he had a 48.8 percent groundball rate and that number is 48.6 percent in 2013, which is encouraging considering that number was 38.4 percent in 2012.

I’d make the trade all day, everyday, and twice on Sunday.

Drew Pomeranz with the Colorado Rockies: 4-10 in 26 starts with a 5.01 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and a 96:51 K:BB in 115 innings.

Alex White with the Colorado Rockies: 4-13 in 30 games (27 starts) with a 6.30 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, and an 88:67 K:BB in 134.1 innings before being traded to the Houston Astros in December of 2012 for Wilton Lopez.

Matt McBride is raking for Colorado Springs right now, the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate, but he is 28 years old and he isn’t going to contribute with Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer around in Denver.

Joe Gardner is in Tulsa, the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, and has a 6.57 ERA over 12 appearances as a 25-year-old. Ouch.

The Indians gave up a lot of potential in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, but it hasn’t lived up to much. Ubaldo Jimenez hasn’t done a whole lot, either, but 17 wins at the major league level by the Tribe right-hander still makes the deal solid for Cleveland. Whether Jimenez continues to dominate like he has over his last seven starts…well, that’s the million dollar question.

As the Indians head to New York and Detroit next week, they’ll need a couple of wins to stay above water. Unfortunately for Jimenez, he is faced with the task of opposing Justin Verlander next Thursday evening in Motown for the third time this season (5/11 and 5/22 were his other outings against the Tiger ace).  Detroit hasn’t been kind to Jimenez, either, as he is 2-6 with a 6.65 ERA in eight career starts.

Regardless of which Ubaldo Jimenez shows up, the Indians and their fans have to be satisfied with the success that he has had at the major league level. They’d likely be more frustrated with Drew Pomeranz or Alex White at this point, anyway, so take the ups that he has given you and hope for more of the same. Forgiving his 46 other starts is difficult, but when things are going right, it’s easy to look the other way.


Tags: Cleveland Indians Ubaldo Jimenez

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