Last night in Colorado, Rockies’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez held the Brewers to two runs on six hits over six innings in a 12-3 Rockies’ win, but it wasn’t just fans of the Colorado franchise that took a keen interest in the game.
Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweeted confirmation of his colleague Tracy Ringolsby’s report that the Detroit Tigers had scouts in attendance at the game. Ringolsby himself tweeted that at least 17 scouts (presumably from other teams, too) were at the ball park last night to take in the action. Of course, with as disappointing as Colorado has been this year, Jimenez is probably not the only reason those scouts were there. Third basemen Ian Stewart and Ty Wigginton could easily also have been on the Tigers’ radar last night, but those names aren’t nearly as fun as Jimenez to think about so let’s talk about him.
Jimenez raced out to a league-best 15 wins by the all-star break in 2010 and seemed a shoo-in for NL Cy Young last year, but he coasted a bit tote finish and wound up with a still impressive 19-8 season with an impressive 2.88 ERA. This season, the 27-year-old appears to be struggling, pitching to a 5-8 record and 4.08 ERA, which is his highest since becoming a full-time member of the Rockies’ rotation in 2008. Despite his perceived struggles, it’s easy to see why Jimenez would be atop many clubs’ wish lists.
Jimenez, this year more than any other, has had the majority of his problems at Coors Field, where the humidor doesn’t seem to be as effective as in the past, at least not for Ubaldo. In 55.1 innings at home this year, Jimenez has a WHIP of 1.709 and has allowed 71 hits and seven home runs. Conversely, on the road this season he has thrown 55 innings and allowed only one home run and only 30 hits, good for a WHIP of 0.904. Opponents are hitting .315 against Jimenez at home, but only .158 on the road. Getting him out of the high altitude seems like a good way to get the most from Jimenez.
On top of the drastic splits, Jimenez also has an amazingly team-friendly contract. The right-hander is signed through 2012 at just $2.8 million this year and $4.2 million next. The club also holds options for 2013 and 2014 at $5.75 million and $8 million, respectively.
Suffice to say, however, when you look at his contract, you know that the Rockies won’t be trading him unless they get exactly what they want in return. Don’t get your hopes up, fans. I’m just not sure that the Tigers have the pieces without including Jacob Turner in the deal.
The silly season is certainly in full-swing as the Tigers get set to open the second half this evening. We’ve been barraged by talk of the club’s interest in Carlos Beltran, Hiroki Kuroda, and even Jeff Baker. Over the next two weeks, there will be no shortage of rumor and speculation coming from your twitter timelines. You’ll hear tales about how a source has indicated an interest in this player and that, or how the Tigers have scouts watching this starter or this third baseman.
Some of those rumors may turn out to be true, and maybe one or two possible trades might come to fruition, but for the most part, it’s better just to take it all with a grain of salt and understand that you probably won’t see your club make a major splash in the trade market. Most of the names you’ll hear connected to the Tigers won’t wind up coming to Detroit and if they do go get a big name, you must understand that those players will cost more in prospects than you are probably comfortable with.
Buckle up and stay tuned.