We Get Fister… Tribe Gets Ubaldo Jimenez

Who do you think comes out of this one on top???

The asking price for Ubaldo Jimenez has seemed awfully high, with latest reports suggesting the Tigers would have had to part with not only Jacob Turner but also Brennan Boesch, either Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer and another prospect or two! No big surprise that Dombrowski didn’t leap at that deal, and settled for Fister instead. Big surprise, however, that the Indians did manage to get ahold of Jimenez.

Follow through for the details

The deal isn’t finalized quite yet, but reportedly involves sending Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joseph Gardner and Matt McBride to Colorado for Ubaldo and Ubaldo alone. Pomeranz and White were first-round picks and are both considered to be top-tier pitching prospects, however Pomeranz hasn’t yet pitched beyond AA and White is currently on the 60-day DL after 3 decent starts in April and May. McBride is a 26-year-old who has never seen a cup of coffee. He has hit decently in AAA, but not as well as an aspiring first baseman needs to. Gardner is a middling pitching prospect, a solid 2010 in A-ball – but he’s more or less fallen on his face in AA this year.

Hrrm. Doesn’t seem like Cleveland had to pay that steep price that the Rockies were demanding of Detroit. However the four prospects fare, Cleveland has given up absolutely nothing from their big-league roster – aside from the off chance that White might actually pitch sometime this season. Giving up Boesch & Porcello, on the other hand, would have been crippling to Detroit and probably offset any gains from Ubaldo in 2011. The closest Tigers equivalent to the package the Indians sent off would probably be Jacob Turner, Andrew Oliver, Brayan Villarreal and Ryan Strieby. If that had been discussed, I would have to imagine Dombrowski would have preferred that deal to the package required to get Fister & Friend from the M’s – I know I would. It may be the case that though the Tigers interest in Jimenez was genuine, the Rox weren’t all that enamored with the prospects Detroit had to offer. Or it could be that they were much more intent on getting rid of their ace than they wanted to let on (read: buyer beware) and settled for what they could get when teams started to drop out of the running and deal for their plan B’s. Regardless, the Tribe seems to come out far ahead in this round.

Of course, Cleveland could burned in the long run – particularly if Jimenez never regains his 2010 form or if both White and Pomeranz end up as legitimate aces, something you’d never consider likely. But the other two are simply filler, the kind of prospects you send to the Royals in exchange for the journeymen they’ve decided aren’t worth giving PAs to anymore. That’s little comfort, as far as I’m concerned. The Tigers could easily get burned on this Fister deal too, and Fister is no Jimenez. I’m inclined to think Francisco Martinez, probably the ‘centerpiece’ prospect in the deal, will never amount to anything more impressive than a hot corner Frenchy. He can’t take a pitch and can’t play defense, and you need to do an awful lot of mashing to make up make up for those flaws – mashing Martinez has yet to do. Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush, on the other hand, have made real contributions to the Tigers big-league club and could shine if given a greater opportunity. Rumor has it that the PTBNL in the deal is a real prospect as well – either Ruffin, Smyly or Castellanos, something that fills me with a sense of dread.

That might seem a bit excessive, and simply saying that a sacrifice has been made doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it. I would certainly have been willing to give up those guys (even if the PTBNL turned out to be, say, Drew Smyly) if the haul had been an ace like Ubaldo. Fister is another story, he could easily turn out to be another Washburn. Fister is a guy that doesn’t get many strikeouts but doesn’t give up free passes, keeps the ball in the yard and limits opponents to a BABIP significantly below league average. Now there’s no .230-ish BABIP like Washburn to send up red flags a blind man should have seen, but Zduriencik is more willing (if not eager) to sacrifice pop for glove than any other GM and they say hitting in SafeCo field is like playing baseball underwater. Even if Fister isn’t due for a regression, and he may be due for a slight one at least as far as his peripherals go, joining a team with a below-average defense that plays their games in normal air could be a traumatic experience after Seattle. We may get something from Fister these last two months only very slightly better than what we’ve seen from Brad Penny, and maybe not better than what we could get get from Jacob Turner if yesterday’s performance was any indication.

Topics: Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Doug Fister, Ubaldo Jimenez

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  • littlestclouds

    Would you give up Turner, Porcello or Scherzer, and Boesch for Jimenez? Because that’s what they supposedly asked the Tigers for. I have to say I wouldn’t.

    Also, I think it’s unlikely the Tigers will also lose Castellanos in this deal. Dombrowski said he thought the deal had fallen through earlier, which makes me wonder if Seattle wanted Castellanos but backed off on him and accepted Martinez instead. I wouldn’t be shocked if the PTBNL was Ruffin or Smyly.

    It’s still a good deal, though. Fister’s road numbers aren’t wildly out of whack with his home numbers. Plus, you have a good starter and a decent reliever locked up until 2015.

  • Bob1951

    Lynn Henning wrote today that it was because the Tigers were “talent rich” that they could afford to make the Fister deal. I think that’s a lot of nonsense. If they really were ‘talent rich’, then they wouldn’t have needed to make a trade at all, they would have simply promoted someone from Toledo. DD has spent 10 years drafting pitchers, yet when the rubber hits the road, he needs to trade for some more pitching because their isn’t enough talent that’s major league ready. Some have made it to the show and done well, but where are all the others? How many pitchers have they drafted in the last 10 years? It must be several hundred, but only a handful have made it. Is that a good batting average? It doesn’t seem like it to me. I’ll hold off judging this trade until the season is over.

  • JohnJParent

    I like Smyly as a prospect, but he doesn’t project to be anything but a back-end starter in the big leagues. He’s been successful this year because he’s simply more polished than his competition. As he progresses through the system, he’ll be less and less impressive; the upside just isn’t there.

    Ruffin is a lot in the same mold – polished college pitcher- but his relief role makes him less “valuable” to the saber guys. Personally, I’m hoping it’s Smyly that becomes the PTBNL and not Ruffin, as the latter can help this club as soon as this year. My gut tells me that it will be Ruffin that goes, however, just based on his demotion to Toledo just before the trade. In order to be the PBTNL, he would have to be in the minor leagues. Sending him down makes him eligible for that distinction. There is no chance that it’s Castellanos, I don’t believe.

  • wilsonm24

    I understand what you are saying about the amount of pitching we have drafted but, we have also been trading a lot of that pitching talent the last few years to fill positional holes that we haven’t drafted. When dealing prospects generally pitching prospects are worth more than position talent so we have been able to make those types of trades.

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