The Cleveland Indians may have not faired well in the bidding for Carlos Beltran, but they have not given up their pursuit of acquiring talent to help them in the hunt for the 2011 MLB Playoffs. Per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Tribe front office is one of three teams considered to be in serious contention for Colorado’s Ubaldo Jiménez.
Sure, the Indians need a bat more than anything. And sure, Jiménez, the hard-throwing right-hander, is having a rather pedestrian 2011 campaign, sporting a record of 6-9 with an ERA 4.20. While these may not be glaring signs of a starting pitcher one would want to trade away pieces to acquire, there are several factors to consider:
- It was just one season ago that the then-26-year old started the All-Star game for the National League squad, finishing the season with 19 wins, an ERA just over two runs and a WHIP of 1.15.
- Jiménez is getting crushed in the confines of Colorado’s home stadium, Coors Field. At home, the hurler is getting torched to the tune of .310 batting average against to go with a 5.55 ERA and a WHIP of 1.67. When he’s pitching anywhere outside of Denver, Jiménez looks like he did all last season with ERA sitting at 2.83 and a WHIP of 0.99 with opposing hitters succeeding at a rate of .178. It’s worth noting that Cleveland is in fact not Denver.
- Also in Jiménez’ favor when one looks beyond the record and ERA, his strikeouts per nine innings number is in line with last season and his walks have dropped, improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jiménez was extremely lucky last season with a BABiP of .271; this year’s numbers are more in line with the norm as he’s back near .300. The potentially best numbers of all? Jiménez’ home runs per nine innings outside of Coors Field: 0.15.
- Ubaldo’s contract is very team-friendly, earning him $2.8 million in 2011 and $4.2 million in 2012 with a $5.75 million club option for ’13. For a mid-market team like the Indians, the deal makes incredible sense assuming that the front office can also add a bat.
So, Tribe fans. Take it all for what it’s worth. Jiménez won’t help the Indians score runs, but he can certainly help an already solid pithing staff. Rosenthal also reports that the Indians continue to be in hot pursuit of a bat, but could be the best match for the Rockies if they’re willing to part with the “required” pieces. Feel free to sound off below.
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