Ubaldo

The big name on the starter market right now is Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies are at least interested in trading him and the Yankees are at least interested in acquiring him. I am reminded of the old adage, “let the buyer beware”.

My first problem with a potential Ubaldo trade is why are the Rockies even thinking about trading him? The Rockies control him thru 2014 for a grand total of $18 million. That’s $500,000 less than the Mariners will pay Felix Hernandez next year alone. This isn’t a salary dump and while the Rockies aren’t very good, why are they willing to give up a young pitcher at an affordable contract they could build around?

Ubaldo is not having anywhere close to the year he had last year, but that is probably more about bad luck than anything. Last year when he compiled a 2.88 ERA he walked 3.7 batters per 9 and struck out 8.7 while allowing a home runs at a rate of 0.4. This year those numbers are 3.5/8.6/0.7. So slightly lower walk and K numbers and a slight uptick in homers. But his ERA is 4.20. This can probably be attributed to an uptick in BABIP from .274 to .311 and a slight increase in flyballs and liners- 0.88 GB/FB ratio versus 0.95 and 22% vs. 21%. But, we are really splitting hairs here, nothing really jumps out as a problem.

But, looking at his pitch data a decline in his fastball jumps out at you. Last season Ubaldo averaged, yup averaged, 96.1mph on his fastball. This season that is down to 93.4. His slider has also decreased from 86.6 to 83.4, his curve from 78.6 to 76.6 and his change from 87.7 to 86.4. Why the decline in velocity? Perhaps it is a sign or arm trouble to come?

Tom Verducci suggests that in this piece. Jimenez is on pace to become the first pitcher to ever throw 200 innings for the Rockies in three-straight years. Furthermore, of the nine other pitchers who have thrown 500 innings or more for the Rockies, only one ever threw 200 innings again in his career! (John Thomson) Click on the link to his article and scroll down to the table of Rockies pitchers, it is a sobering sight.

Throw in the fact that he showed up to camp out of shape and the whole “New York factor” and I don’t want to see this guy putting on pinstripes anytime soon unless the Yankees get him for a song. If the Rockies want to trade him for lesser prospects than Montero, Banuelos and Betances, I am all ears, but I don’t see that happening and therefore, I hope the Yankees sit tight.

UPDATE– Ubaldo is starting tonight against San Diego. Should be interesting to see if he makes the start or gets pulled early. Here is a link to that game

And considering Ivan Nova is rumored to be a piece of any potential Ubaldo trade, we can see what the Yankees do with him tonight. I have to say, I found it strange that they went to Wade for three innings and Logan for one this afternoon with Noesi sitting in the pen. (It was a career high for Wade and why use your only lefty in the first half of a DH with a huge lead?) It’s a pure guess, but could they have done that just in case they need to pull Nova tonight and use Noesi for length?? Hmmmm….