Trading Ubaldo Would Be a Death Blow
Rockies fans should be realistic when looking towards October—there’s a better bet that you’ll be hitting the slopes come the first week of October than catching a Rockies game. The team’s performance on the diamond this year has been anything but sparkling and their last three games show that they’re truly flattening out.
What this all means of course is that the Rockies management should be looking past this season with a greater fervency. Instead of looking to add that extra late-inning bullpen arm (like they did in ’09 with the addition of Rafael Betancourt), Rockies management appears more prone to sell-off some assets. The biggest name to be mentioned as of yet is their ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
To trade Jimenez, who has stated over and over that he wants to finish his career in Colorado, would be akin to throwing-up a white flag not just for this year but, for years to come. As a friend told me earlier today if the Rockies, who have the 4th worst team ERA in the NL, were to trade Ubaldo they’d be headed back to the dark ages where they had their few big-boppers in the lineup and a cast of big-bloopers on the bump. No Rockies fan wants a repeat of Todd and the Toddlers, and Tulo and the teenagers sounds about as fun as acne and lunch ladies.
Ubaldo is, by far, the best pitcher the Rockies have ever had, and as a front of the rotation flamethrower he’s the most valuable asset on Dan O’Dowd’s books. If one looks at the class of the NL, the Phillies, Braves, and Giants (1st, 2nd, and 3rd in team ERA) one knows right away that the strategy to winning is investing in pitching. The days of big offense winning championships are like a Cecil Fielder moon-shot—long gone. On a side note: the resurgent Pirates rank 5th in the NL in team ERA.
Why would the Rockies dump a starter with the major’s best opponent’s batting average, a paltry .158, in away games? With the Rockies controlling Ubaldo with team options through 2014 it just doesn’t make sound business sense. What major league team would trade its most valuable asset in a non-contract year? His value is lower than last year, and at 27 he’s bound to work out his uncharacteristic home woes. Besides, even with this year’s dismal 5.89 home ERA, Ubaldo still owns a career 3.68 ERA at 20th and Blake.
Former ace Pedro Astacio’s ERA at Coors would be a pretty good credit score at 7.72. All-time Rockies win leader Aaron Cook’s ERA at Coors is nearly a full run higher at 4.57. Former rookie phenom Jason Jennings boasts a career 5.19 Coors Field ERA. Daryl Kyle—6.76; Mike Hampton, 5.82. Enough.
Its safe to say no one has ever put on the purple pinstripes and been as dominant as Ubaldo, and there is a real good chance no one ever will. Even if O’Dowd were to get the entirety of the Yankee’s farm system for Ubaldo, the chances of finding a replacement are about as good as Dante Bichette going on a diet.
The Rockies should be looking to add pitching depth by developing the latent talent in the likes of Chacin, Nicasio, and Rogers all of who have shown the potential to be front of the rotation material. Here’s some food for thought, instead of an Ubaldo, Chacin, Cook, Hammel, Nicasio rotation let’s look forward to a potentially brilliant rotation of Ubaldo, De la Rosa, Chacin, Rogers, and Nicasio. I hope Chris Iannetta knows Spanish—Willin Rosario certainly does.