Monday, August 1, 2011

Ubaldo: If nothing else, enjoy the name

Late Saturday night, after the word was out that the Indians and Rockies had reached an agreement on the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, WTAM's Nick Camino came into the press box and said callers on his show were about 70-30 against the trade. I found that interesting, because for all the months fans have spent ripping Indians ownership for not spending any money and not trying to win, here was tangible proof to the contrary - and yet most fans didn't like it.

Reaction nationally to the trade has been mixed. ESPN's Keith Law basicallly said the Indians were delusional in being buyers at the trade deadline. However, most of the other ESPN commentators liked the trade for the Indians. Many observers liked it for BOTH teams. Indeed, this could wind up being a trade that helps both teams. A lot.

It's not out of the question that Jimenez will be the 200-innings horse at the top of their rotation that Indians officials felt it was worth giving up their top two pitching prospects to acquire. It's also not out of the question that Drew Pomeranz and Alex White will be mainstays in the Rockies' rotation for the next six years.

While it's fashionable after trades of this magnitude to declare, or predict an ultimate winner of the trade, it's not always black and white. Sometimes both teams win. Or lose.

The Indians could be losers if Jimenez, for the remainder of this season and the next two years, doesn't pitch reasonably close to the level he did last year, when he was the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team.

The Rockies could be losers if White and Pomeranz don't blossom into above average major league starting pitchers. There are no guarantees. The road the the Hall of Fame is littered with top pitching prospects who never had even mediocre careers at the major league level.

What I like most about the trade is that it's a big, bold, brassy move by an Indians team that hasn't made one of those in a long time. I'm not crazy about giving up two top pitching prospects and not getting a big-time hitter in return. But I will give the Indians credit for being aggressive at a time when there is a division - albeit an incredibly weak division - to be won, and going out and making a high stakes trade to try to win it.

Hey, if nothing else, the Indians acquired the player with the best name in the majors.

How can you not root for an "Ubaldo"?


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