Ubaldo goes east

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a four year contract last night, effectively eliminating any realistic chance of him meeting the Rockies head on in the near future. To tell you the truth, I'm a little disappointed about that.

I'll be honest, up until the Diamondbacks inked Bronson Arroyo to a two year deal with an option a week and a half ago, I was secretly rooting for Arizona to land Ubaldo Jimenez.

It was pretty obvious the snakes were going to open their wallet for a pitcher. They have a huge new TV deal beginning in 2015, they already dealt Tyler Skaggs in the trade to acquire Mark Trumbo, and they remained in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes for a surprisingly long period of time. Arizona had money to spend, and wasn't exactly trying to hide their desire to expand their rotation depth.

As the qualifying offers slapped on Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana kept the number of suitors limited, a possibility existed that Jimenez and the snakes might eventually fing a match. It was never the most likely scenario, but Ubaldo was always going to go where the most money was offered, and considering that the Diamondbacks gave Arroyo a guaranteed $23.5 million, it was absolutely possible for Ubaldo to end up wearing sedona if Arroyo had gone elsewhere.

If events played out this way, we would have been guaranteed some serious entertainment for a few games over the next couple of seasons. A few nights to circle on your calendar once you tracked the pitching match ups a week or two in advance.

There's clearly still lingering animosity from both parties in this skirmish, and a scene where they had to meet head on multiple times a season would have only escalated tensions, possibly to a boiling point. In addition to this high drama playing out being a good thing for attendance and TV ratings, I actually think it would have been good for the Rockies on the field as well. In the ultimate marathon that is the MLB season, a few nights where hostilities rise at random points in the season can prevent teams from falling into a malaise.

Rivalries typically end up being a good thing for both parties involved because each member of the conflict tends to drive the other to reach new levels in an attempt to avoid being embarrassed by their foe. The Rockies probably came closer than most people realize to having a mini version of this with a former player, and while it's impossible to know how that scenario would have played out, I was kind of hoping we would get to travel down that road and shake up the status quo.

(In addition, I wouldn't have minded seeing the Diamondbacks continue to damage their farm system by surrendering their first round pick, which would have been part of the cost in signing Jimenez.)

Instead, Ubaldo goes to Baltimore, which all but completely closes the potential for meaningful match ups. Both sides will keep their differences and only clash in the rare interleague games. Short of a surprise World Series or a fast trade to an N.L. West club, the flames here will just slowly burn out from afar. Maybe it's better this way, but put me in the camp that wanted to see something in this division that would really get this club's blood pressure up.

Links

The Rockies have named LaTroy Hawkins their closer, and if you read my Rockpile from last week, you'll know why I'm pretty happy with that announcement.

Troy Renck has a couple of pieces up today on Rockies starters. One on Tyler Chatwood feeling good after elbow surgery, and another on Jhoulys Chacin forcing opposing batters to hit the ball on the ground.

There's also a note in the Chatwood piece about DJ LeMahieu possibly becoming the lead off hitter this season. That's a topic that's going to be an issue all season but the very fact that a guy with a career .314 on base percentage is seriously being considered for the job should tell you all you need to know about this team's lack of guys who can get on base at a high clip.

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