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A Fan’s Take on the Ubaldo Jimenez Trade

Last week’s trade deadline offered fans all kinds of action as it was filled with rumors and numerous transactions.  One of the larger deals involved former Rockies’ starter Ubaldo Jimenez as the 27 year old was shipped to the Indians for a bevy of prospects.

Most agree that the price paid by Cleveland was a heavy one, but in an effort to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007 the Indians considered the move worthwhile.

Meanwhile, already in the midst of a disappointing season, Colorado’s fan base had to swallow the pill of losing one of its franchises best starters.

One such fan was Michelle Hoag, staff writer for our Rockies’ team site Rox Pile.  After taking the last few days to let this weekend’s happenings sink in, Michelle was kind enough to share her thoughts on the move.

Here’s one fan’s take on the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

Ubaldo. He’s a one-name superstar, like Cher or Madonna. To Rockies fans, he will always be our first true ace, the first pitcher that came up through our farm system and succeeded at the major-league level. He gave us hope that our hitter’s paradise ballpark could one day be home to a championship team firing on all cylinders. His loss is an enormous heartbreak to us.

In terms of what we received in exchange for him, the true beneficiary in the trade won’t yet be clear for some time. Ubaldo should have an immediate impact for the Cleveland Indians, who are hoping to reach the postseason. His road splits for 2011 are excellent, meaning that away from Coors Field he will be an even better pitcher than he’s already been.

But the players the Indians sent to the Rockies are still untested. Drew Pomeranz has pitched just 91 innings of professional baseball, none above Double-A. While his numbers there are impressive and the scouts like what they see, no one knows how he’ll fare with a major-league club in a park like Coors Field.

Alex White has a little more experience than Pomeranz, but very little beyond the minors. There isn’t even general agreement in the baseball community about whether he fits best in a rotation or a bullpen, though the Rockies intend to try him first in the former.

Joe Gardner could be the next generation’s Aaron Cook, or his sinker ball could stop sinking once he pitches in mile high air. He doesn’t have any experience in the show, either.

Infielder Matt McBride has spent plenty of time in the minors, but is by far the least valuable part of the package and no doubt destined for utility-ville whatever happens.

So does this trade work in the Rockies’ favor? The risk in it is that we won’t know any time soon. And that’s the real reason why I’m disappointed in it. Even though I respect GM Dan O’Dowd’s effort to make real changes that will shore up the club’s long-term health, I don’t like what it does in the short term at all. It puts the final nail in the coffin of a team that had the talent to contend this year and would have again next year as well.

It’s no secret that the Rockies haven’t played good baseball in 2011. This has been the most disappointing season in team history in terms of failure to reach full potential. Well, now even the potential, at least for the next couple of seasons, is diminished. Every pitcher in the rotation right now is either young or broken. Ubaldo kept hope alive. Now that he’s gone, we’re stuck watching a lifeless team play a joyless game. Will all that suffering pay off if the Rockies win the World Series in 2013? In a word, yes. But will that happen? Stay tuned.

Topics: Aaron Cook, Alex White, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Drew Pomeranz, Joe Gardner, Matt McBride, Ubaldo Jimenez

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