Well, it has all begun to sink in. We have Ubaldo Jimenez. Here is my take:
· Ubaldo is an ace. Face it, people, if healthy this guy will be better than any pitcher the Indians have had in the last 10 years NOT named CC Sabathia. Yes, better than Cliff Lee even in his Cy Young year!
· Drew Pomeranz has command issues. Face it, it was the knock on him when he was drafted and he still has them.
· Alex White has a bad finger and it was never clear he was going to be able to stay as a starter in the big leagues.
· Matt McBride is old and hasn’t proven he can hit in AAA. If he changes some things he may, yet, be a B prospect.
· Joe Gardner had a flash-in-the-pan year last year and, while he is the sleeper of the deal and I would have LOVED to (and think we should have) gotten a similar sleeper back, we obviously decided to include him.
I am a prospect guy and this trade works for me EXCEPT for one aspect:
I really, really, really believe that if you are going to do a deal like this you need to understand all aspects of it. I don’t believe Antonetti did. In an interview after the trade he said that he was going to have to contact MLB about the nature of the option in terms of timeframe for Jimenez to say that he wasn’t going to allow the Indians to pick up that option. I mean, shouldn’t you KNOW this? Also, shouldn’t you at least have inquired about whether you could talk to Ubaldo about him waiving his right to void this out in the contract BEFORE you traded for him?
You see, most fans now understand that this is all about “THE WINDOW”. You get your players together and you go for it when you feel you have the critical mass of talent to compete for the playoffs and post-season success. 2 ½ years of Ubaldo gives us a much narrower window than you would think and, although mathematically it doesn’t make sense, 3 ½ years is a MUCH bigger window. You see, if you have great talent you might have one bad year with injuries out of three. You might have one year where you are knocked out by some upstart team that has all its stars aligned and that should happen, at the most, one out of 4 years. So, on average, even if everything conspires against you, if your talent is the best in your division you should be able to make the playoffs once every 3 years, minimum, twice out of 3 years some of the time, and every one of three consecutive years infrequently...unless you change those odds by adding new pieces to change the balance once again. The Indians did this in the 90s, constantly changing the balance until they ran out of resources (i.e., they maxed out their payroll and emptied their farm system because they didn't pay enough attention to keeping that system stocked with stud prospects). Their only flaw was not having a backup plan (no pipeline of minor leaguers, no exit plan for aging veterans by using deadline deals to re-stock their farm system), which they could have easily done if they had just spent a few more million on the draft each year. Let's hope they learn their lesson this time. Now, back to the topic at hand..
If you discount this year the Indians are asking for their talent to win for them at least once and maybe twice in two years. The odds are against that happening, even if they had all the talent they need.
And they don’t. Their offense is WOEFUL. They have done nothing to address that. And what makes people think that Grady is not now a .220 hitter? I harken back to Mark McGwire, whose leg problems knocked him out of baseball and his saying, ‘When you don’t have a foundation (read: solid legs), you can’t hit.’ Maybe Grady comes back strong next year, maybe not. Choo should be solid next year and Brantley, Chisenhall and Kipnis should settle in. However, NONE of those guys hit righthanded. We need to address that issue.
We have all of about two weeks to address it for this year and then it is all up to chance after that…unless we do something amazing in the off-season and unless Jimenez wants his option picked up.
Crazy, you say? Maybe, but it's something to think about, isn't it?