Trade Deadline Thoughts: No Thank You, Ubaldo

An article by posted on July 19, 2011

Just about 40 minutes ago, Ted Berg posted an updated blog in which he makes a brief case for the Mets to inquire about Ubaldo Jiminez.

First of all, Jiminez is 27 years old, before he throws a pitch next year he will turn 28. His contract next year would pay him $4.2 million, then $5.75 million and lastly $8 million in 2014. His 2013 and 2014 contracts are team options.

I find it strange that his name is popping up on the trade market, and the only reason I can think of is that Colorado knows 2010 was his peak career season. So why would Mets fans or anybody want the Mets to fall for that? His salary is clearly not holding the Rockies back is it? So, Jiminez won’t be a cheap acquisition that’s for sure. Do you know what you’re getting for him? 

A myth you’ll hear regarding Ubaldo is that Coors Field hurts him and he will be so much better at Citi Field. Really? 

Using the last 3 seasons as a sample size, here are Ubaldo’s splits 

22-21, 331 innings, 269 hits, 15 HR, 159 BB, 330K with a 3.56 ERA on the road.

24-11, 307.1 innings, 260 hits, 19 HR, 121 BB, 254 K with a 3.28 ERA at home.

Only this season is working in favor of the “Ubaldo is hurt by Coors Field” argument. I’ll take the larger sample size when trying to judge whether a park truly impacts a pitcher’s performance.

So the idea that Ubaldo’s numbers are hindered by the fact he plays in Coors Field frankly is not accurate. Plus, Jiminez is a groundball pitcher for the most part. His groundball to flyball ratio’s lean more towards groundballs, so the idea that Citi Field will help him doesn’t really fly with me. (Pun…intended?)

Jiminez broke out on the national scene last year, and since then has fizzled out. Sure, he’s had a few very good games this year, but he hasn’t had a season that says “Ace”, to me.

In the last 3 years, Ubaldo has allowed 809 base runners to reach safely in just 638 innings of work. One of Jiminez’s biggest flaws is his control, or lack thereof. To me, walking batters is the #1 crime a pitcher commits at Citi Field.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Jiminez isn’t a valuable commodity for any big league team. What I am saying is that he hit his career peak in 2010 and the Rockies likely know that. Why would the Mets want to acquire a player who is beginning his decline?

And forget about this idea that Jiminez is some ace that can match up against the Phillies. He’s had 1 season out of 4 in which he looked like a true ace. You know what that is? Not a true ace.

You have to think Colorado is shopping him because they know his stock will drop year after year. He’s signed cheaply, and is starting to show that he’s really the pitcher we saw in 2008 and 2009 and not the guy we saw in 2010. Is trading Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and another prospect worth it to you? 

That’s even assuming it wouldn’t take more than that. You know it would. Would you trade Tejada with Niese and Harvey? You’re not getting an “ace” who is signed for a reasonable contract for a bag of balls. Colorado doesn’t have to trade him, which means his price tag doesn’t have to be lowered.

For me, I embrace the Alderson era because it’s not business as usual.

This isn’t a pitcher in a contract year, this isn’t a salary dump. This is a team trying to sell high on a pitcher who may have hit his peak last year. The Mets are not in a position to gamble on the fact that 2010 wasn’t a fluke. The cost of the gamble would be far too great, and it could be a move that cripples this franchise even more.

Acquiring Jiminez to me is bringing in a pitcher whose better days are behind them and I think I have seen enough of those types of moves to know they usually do not work out in the Mets favor.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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