Chris Antonetti said the Indians would try to make some moves at the trade deadline and he certainly was right. No other team was as active nor made as much of an impact on their team as the Indians did. They made 3 moves: they acquired Ubaldo Jimenez and Kosuke Fukudome and they got rid of dead weight in Orlando Cabrera. It will be key to see how these moves pan out because they have lose 3 out of the last 4 and are traveling to Boston and Texas this week. Not only were they the most active teams, but each trade was a smart move.
The Orlando Cabrera trade is easy to evaluate. Cabera sucks. He doesn’t draw walks, doesn’t get hits, and doesn’t have power. He’s an impatient hitter who is 3rd worst in baseball in pitches per at bat & in OPS. It doesn’t help that second base is not his natural position and he has been a below average fielder there. The fact that the Indians got any value is shocking. The player they got is an outfielder who is a solid hitter with nice power and speed, but below average fielding. He has struggled this year because he’s been hurt but he’s 23 and in AAA.
The most vital trade they made may have been grabbing Kosuke Fukudome (based on the need of the player). While Cabrera is among the bottom in the league in pitches per plate appearances, Fukudome is among the league leaders along with Carlos Santana. This gives the Indians 2 guys who can really work pitchers. He takes a lot of pitches and does not strike out a lot. He is a solid fielder who can play Center field or Left field. Considering the outfield depth, he is definitely a valuable asset and a good hitter in the order and they didn’t have to give up a lot. Carlton Smith is a 25 year old reliever in AAA who is still at least a year from being ready for the big time and Abner Abreu is a guy with some talent, but hasn’t been able to get out of Advanced A.
The blockbuster move though was trading for Ubaldo Jimenez. While they gave a lot up in the way of prospects, its an incredible deal that will help them now and in the future. Ubaldo Jimenez is signed through 2013 and has an option for the 2014 season. The asking price that the Rockies got was Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner, and matt mcbride but really the big pieces were White and Pomeranz. This is what you have to give up for Ubaldo’s production. Ubaldo’s having a down year, but that is partially due to injury and partially due to getting rocked in Coors. Ubaldo is at worst, a very good #2 starter who is 27 and has the possibility of an ace. Before this year, he improved every single year to the point where he was on the verge of winning the Cy Young.
Now White and Pomeranz are both good pitchers, but will either of them ever win a Cy Young or come in the top 5 of the voting? Probably not and the odds are very much against them. Pomeranz has the the most potential and he could be a #1 someday, but will likely be a #2/#3 starter if he ends up panning out. Alex White does not have the repertoire to be anything more than a bullpen arm. He’s tried to develop a slider, but its only average and it may have caused his recent injury. Of the other 2 players in the deal, one (Gardner) is a starter who has a low ceiling and was supposed to be a high riser but hit a wall in AA and the other (mcBride) is a 26 year old outfielder struggling in AAA.
This move is a clear message that Antonetti wants to win now and not wait. Its not mortgaging the future because they got a young pitcher for multiple years and the chances that either Pomeranz or White are ever as good even, in the most pessimistic scenario of Ubaldo, is slim. Prospects flame out all the time (see Sowers, Jeremy and miller, Adam) and this trade is a good move even if you are a small market team.
About the Author
Written by Bradley Ross
Bradley Ross was born and lived most of his life in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He grew up with a passion for sports and Cleveland teams, instilled in him by his father. He is currently studying Business/Journalism at Cuyahoga Community College and plans on transferring to the Ohio State University in the winter with an expected graduation date of 2013. He is currently a Staff Writer for the Tri-C Voice Newspaper, which was a recipient of an award for the best non-daily newspaper at a 2 year college (northeast region). He runs multiple blogs off of the blogger platform including The Take By The Lake, a sports blog. Sports is his passion and he enjoys being able to write about them and cover them. He also enjoys improvisational humor, long walks on the beach, and writing in the 3rd person. Follow him on Twitter @BRoss_Voice.