The Ubaldo Jimenez Problem v. The Michael Pineda Problem

Looking back at last year’s trade deadline, the big name connected with the Yankees was starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Supposedly, the Rockies wanted a package of Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances. As ridiculous as that sounds, initial prices are meant to come down, and by the end of July the package appeared to be a couple of those top prospects. Back then the deal sounded great to me, a couple unsure pitching prospects for a guy under cheap team control with an absurdly low FIP, how can you go wrong? Well the Indian’s rookie GM Chris Antonetti took the bait, and boy did things go wrong.

Tulo asking Jimenez what he'd do with $163m

Even before Jimenez was traded to the Indians, we heard that the Yankees lost interest in the right hander when the Rockies refused to offer a preliminary physical to Brian Cashman. For a pitcher who’s fastball dropped 2-3 mph on average that year, refusing a physical is a huge flag, but now we see that Jimenez’ problems stem even deeper. After joining the Indians, the 27 year old pitcher gave the team 65.1 innings with a 5.10 ERA. In this year’s Spring Training, the righty was only sitting between 90 to 92 mph, and now we learn that he battled with Colorado’s front office and teammates. He was unhappy that while he received a 4 year/$10m extension, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki received 7 year/$80m and 6 year/ $118m (7 year/$45m as well) respectively. There’s no other way to look at this other than as a case of jealousy, and it’s hard for me to sympathize with someone who is upset about getting $10 million.

On Sunday, Jimenez finally got to meet Tulowitzki on the mound, and sure enough it ended with a benches clearing hit by pitch. Not only did he do it on his first pitch to the shortstop, not only did he do it on the first pitch of the game, but he did all this in front of Commissioner Bud Selig. There’s no better way to earn a 5 game suspension, and there’s no better way to prove that the Rockies were right in losing a bad clubhouse presence. It’s the Indian’s problem now, and while we deal with shelving Michael Pineda for a few weeks because of a sore shoulder, remember that it could be the Yankees who traded their farm system for the belligerent pitcher. In a few weeks we might have one of the youngest most competent pitchers back on the team with the same stuff he had last year, but for the Indians, do they really know who they have in Ubaldo? Sure he’ll only miss one start after the suspension, and he could regain his velocity, but who’s to say he won’t retaliate when Carlos Santana gets an extension? It’s easier to heal a sore shoulder than a swelling ego, and I’m thankful Cashman chose Pineda.

4 thoughts on “The Ubaldo Jimenez Problem v. The Michael Pineda Problem

  1. SDM

    I’m proud to say I was against the Ubaldo deal, the large number of the farm was a point of contempt for me, but the real red flag (even before I knew about the refusal of physical) is based on the Park that Ubaldo called home for his career. Coors in addition to being a notorious hitters park, is also a place that takes a far harder toll on the body due to its elevation, and lack of humidity. Pitches tend to flatten out dramatically there, forcing pitchers to put more effort into each pitch in order to get the desired amount of movement. I’ve heard that you 100 pitches in Colorado is the equivalent of 120-130 pitches anywhere else. That combined with the fact that any Rockies Starting pitcher who’s been with the team; no matter how great they were never make it past 5 years without either suffering injury or suffer a dramatic loss of effectiveness. That place is not good for pitchers, Ubaldo was on borrowed time, and I feel the same way for the guys that were traded there. Unless they get moved quickly they’ll have a similar fate (minus the asshole temper tantrum).

    PS

    I did like the Pineda trade and still do, I do think that he’ll regain most if not all of his velocity, but even if he doesn’t he will still be more than capable of being an elite SP because he strikes me (and has proven to me that) as a finesse pitcher with power stuff, rather than a pure power pitcher.

  2. Billy ball

    No offense but I was one of your biggest enemies when discussing the trade. As a matter of fact 75% of your bloggers were bashing cashman for not making trade and I was reading reports that many scouts were not only concerned with dip in velocity but with potential injury and nature of his pitching style causing harm to arm. I was soon against it and one of your writers actually was offended by my saying he is not even a top pitcher in the game the last yr and half and to trade farm would be ridiculous. I said have faith in the gm and trust his scouts but a vast majority on this site disagreed and some wanted cash fired. I’m so happy your brought this up and hopefully the impatient Yankee fans will not call for cash head when Pineda who I like allot struggles all season. This trade was a no brainer and we kept our farm for most part in tact and have one of the most exciting young arms in the game for awhile.

  3. SER

    I was living in Co. during his heyday there and I was against the trade. There were always reports about his makeup. Its not that hes a bad guy but very sensitive and not very tough. I would have been ok with the Yankees trading for him if it was a package for a number 2/3 starter with a yr and a half of control left but not as a number 1. To see the mess he is now is surprising. In the end I just wouldnt have give up Montero or Banuelos for a year and a half of a number 2/3 type guy. Any package that didnt include those guys and I would have liked the trade. This is probably why the trade didnt take place, the Yankees didnt see him as surfire 1 or 2 and didnt have enough pieces after Manban/Montero to get the deal done.

  4. smurfy

    Boy, you’re not kidding, Michael. We will be smiling for many years with Pineda, and don’t have to regret the cost and the headaches of Ubaldo. Great moves, Cash!

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