Sunday Rockpile: Pros and cons of all the pieces in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

I'm a blogger, which supposedly means I should chime in and tell you how much I love or hate the Ubaldo Jimenez trade for the Rockies. I'm actually not into that, so I'm sorry to disappoint. This stage is always the worst to evaluate trades for a team you're close to, as there's zero chance for neutrality. In light of that, I'm just going to put fors and against for each of the five pieces involved. Jimenez might not be the only Rockies player moved today, we'll try and keep abreast of other developments. For more in depth analysis of the prospects coming back to the Rockies as well as all Indians prospects, I encourage you to read Indians Prospect Insider a resource I use frequently throughout the season while looking up their prospects.

Troy Renck's initial view of the deal is here.

Dave Krieger has his thoughts as well.

I'll probably put other links up in the comments.

Ubaldo Jimenez

Why wouldn't the Rockies want him? Try and explain or justify his results from the last year as you might, the fact is that Jimenez has been a middle of the rotation starter from just prior to the All-Star break last season until now, not an ace. He was an ace from 2008 until that point, but he hasn't been for a year now, and there may never have been a better opportunity to trade a middle of rotation starter that people feel could still be an ace. He's lost 4 mph from his fastball, and he's seemingly lost confidence on the mound. Let's be serious though, any club, including the Rockies, wouldn't mind having even that around.

Why would the Rockies want him? Because he's the greatest pitcher in their history, and one of the greatest personalities. He's adored by fans like the ace he was, even if the results on the field haven't been living up to that standard of late. There's still a fairly large chance that he could return to that ace level of play. A down season is not uncommon even among HOF type of greats. Nolan Ryan dipped to a 102 and a 99 ERA plus in 1975 (28 y.o.) and 1976 (29. y.o.) before bouncing back to a top 3 Cy Young finish in 1977. Roger Clemens' 1993 season in Boston saw him go 11-14 with a 4.43 ERA. He went on to go 191-98 in 14 seasons after that with a 3.38 ERA.

Matt McBride

Why wouldn't the Rockies want him? McBride's clearly not the headline of this trade, a 26 year old former top catching prospect who can no longer play behind the plate, he's limited to just low defensive utility corner positions. He's also been the rare player that seemingly can't adjust to AAA pitching, let alone to that which he'll see in the MLB. He's a right handed bench bat and will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if he's not on the 40 man roster, so there's a pretty decent chance he's not with the Rockies organization at all in 2012 if he's fringe MLB ready.

Why would the Rockies want him? He's a right handed bench bat, and when he's on, he's a pretty good one. Power, some patience, the ability to turn on a fastball or to take it the other way if it's on the outside, pretty much everything you'd look for. He's kept his K rate lower than 20%, which is also a big plus. For a reserve position, he'd be pretty useful if he can adjust to higher quality breaking pitches.

Joe Gardner

Why wouldn't the Rockies want him? As John Sickels frequently points out, the high A to AA transition can be fairly telling for a minor leaguer's future, and Gardner's had a fairly ugly one as his strikeouts have plummeted and he's seen an uptick in the amount of home runs he's allowed. Neither's a great recipe for success at altitude, even if the high GB% helps. He was shut down earlier in the season with shoulder fatigue, which is rarely a good sign, and hasn't yet developed his secondary pitches (the slider particularly, but also a change-up) to the point where there should be confidence that he can make an MLB rotation.

Why would the Rockies want him? His sinker is one of the best in minor league baseball, and a pitch as devastating as Aaron Cook's at his best. If the slider and change do develop, he could be a mid-rotation innings eater like Cook or Jake Westbrook.


Alex White

Why wouldn't the Rockies want him? He's only thrown 189 1/3 professional innings, and 150 of those were last season. He's too much of an injury risk, too much of an unknown on the professional level to be the kind of sure-fire thing that the Rockies were looking for.

Why would the Rockies want him? Because like Gardner, he's got one of the best sinker pitches in the game, topping out at 95 mph, but unlike Gardner, he backs it up with two other quality pitches, a splitter and a slider which gives him a bit of a higher ceiling as a #2 starter. He's MLB ready, and could join the rotation as soon as he finishes injury rehab.


Drew Pomeranz

Why wouldn't the Rockies want him? The only bad thing here is a lack of experience and the wee bit of uncertainty that's still left when a top prospect seamlessly transitions to AA as quickly as Pomeranz has (in his AA debut he struck out Bryce Harper twice.) I don't intend to make it sound like he's a sure thing, but he's about as close as pitching prospects get. He does only have two out pitches at the moment, as great as they are, he probably needs one more to be a true ace.

Why would the Rockies want him? He's an ace in the making using excellent command of a low 90's FB with good downward plane and movement and a 12-6 curve. He's developing a change-up that should be another out pitch at some point down the road.

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