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Tuesday Rockpile: The Post-Ubaldo Rotation

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Don't break him in Goodyear, Cleveland.
Don't break him in Goodyear, Cleveland.

Not a single Rockies fan is happy that Ubaldo Jimenez' tenure as a Rockie is done.  Not a single one.  The time for mourning can continue as long as anyone needs it, but the wheels are already in motion for the post-Ubaldo era.  So onward we must go.  (sniff sniff)

Ubaldo will fly to Cleveland tomorrow, and he has been announced as Cleveland's starter Friday in Texas.  He will presumably not be wearing #38 unless he buys the number from reliever Joe Smith, even though Jimenez has earned just ~$2million more than the 27-year-old reliever in his career.

Alex White will arrive at Coors Field Friday, where he will be given details on his rehab assignment.  Drew Pomeranz cannot report to the Rockies until August 17 due to the Pete Incaviglia rule, so he will report to the Indians' Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Arizona for a month's worth of bullpen sessions.  It's weird and awkward, and the 15 day wait doesn't just bring anxiety for Rockies fans:

"It's such a weird situation. No one knew what I could and couldn't do. I want to leave now and start pitching for them." - Drew Pomeranz

The lefty will likely first pitch in game action for the Rockies with the AA Tulsa Drillers, the very same squad his older brother Stuart pitched in 51 games for just last season.  Christian Friedrich, Casey Weathers, Wilin Rosario and Cory Riordan are among the Tulsa prospects who will be teammates with both brothers.

With Ubaldo gone, the rotation sets up with Jhoulys Chacin, Aaron Cook, Jason Hammel, Esmil Rogers and Juan Nicasio.  Not exactly exciting, but not horrifying either.  In the last five games, that fivesome has combined for 5 ER in 33.2 IP, good for a 1.38 ERA.

Then add Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, who both figure to get a look in the rotation by September.  It would be Pomeranz' first look in the majors, but Alex White threw 15 innings (with 13 K's and a 3.60 ERA) in three starts for Cleveland at the beginning of the year.  As long as the Rockies don't allow him to exceed 35 additional innings in the big leagues this season, he will retain his rookie status.

I don't doubt this is on Dan O'Dowd's mind.  Losing Ubaldo is not an easy spin for public relations, but having both Drew Pomeranz and Alex White in the rotation next year could give the Rockies two very legitimate Rookie of the Year contenders.  Immediate returns on prospects are hard to come by, but if one takes off next season and brings home hardware, the burden is eased.

As of today, 2012's rotation will definitely contain Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio.  Alex White and Drew Pomeranz are penciled in, with Jason Hammel and Esmil Rogers vying for spot number five, Greg Reynolds, Clay Mortensen and Christian Friedrich providing depth.  When Jorge de la Rosa returns, as David Oh No tweeted yesterday, the Rockies will have the most physically gifted rotation in franchise history, ironically without the most physically gifted pitcher in franchise history.  Juan Nicasio would be the second-oldest of that rotation, so there is a lot of youth, but a lot to dream on as well.

Carlos Gonzalez hoping for Saturday return after 'great' round of B.P. | All Things Rockies — Colorado Rockies news — Denver Post   Great news.  

Jason Giambi won't mind being traded by Colorado Rockies if he can return - The Denver Post  It certainly appears Dan O'Dowd will have to eventually have the uncomfortable and terrifying discussion with the Giambino, because Jason will be happy to wear a Rockies uniform until he is fifty, it appears.

Smith looks all right against lefty on homer off Hamels - The Denver Post  Smith's home run was just one of his two hits vs. a lefty last night.  Still, it was his first home run vs a LHP in 23 months, when he homered off Clay Zavada on September 5, 2009.  Just four of his 42 hits for extra bases have come against southpaws, and he maintains a near .250 OPS L/R split.  It was no doubt encouraging, as neither hit was pulled, but there is little to hang your hat on that he will grow out of his platoon role.