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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.

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Colorado Rockies Detroit Tigers Doug Fister Ubaldo Jimenez

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