Trading Ubaldo Jimenez?

According to circulating rumors the Colorado Rockies may be interested in trading starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez before the July 31st trade deadline. Among Jimenez’s reported suitors are the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and Boston Red Sox.

All of these teams are considered playoff contenders and surely wouldn’t be willing to part with any key players that are vital to their current success, but rather young players, picks, or cash.

While the return for Jimenez should be pretty substantial in terms of future payoff if the Rockies do decide to trade him, it would overall be a mistake. Jimenez is only 27 years old and has already shown that he can be one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball when he is on top of his game.

[caption id="attachment_65" align="aligncenter" width="298" caption="Rockies Ace Ubaldo Jimenez (photo by Greg Nelson/SI)"][/caption]

Ubaldo’s career really took off in the first half of last year’s 2010 season when he went 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA going into the All-Star break. He returned to his human form in the second half going 4-7.

While Jimenez had a rough start to his 2011 season going winless in his first nine starts, he looks to have turned things around going 5-1 over his last 7 starts.

Ubaldo Jimenez has proved that he is an elite pitcher and if the Rockies want to win now they must keep him. The fact of the matter is that the Rockies MUST win now. Their lineup is too good to keep dropping games to sub-.500 teams and with fellow superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez just now entering their prime, the organization can’t wait to rebuild their pitching staff to a competitive level from inside the organization.

The Rockies’ pitching right now is flat out awful. 30th in the league… and trading away the ace of the staff in Jimenez would only make things worse. The offense is strong enough to be the difference in close game, but if the pitching keeps getting rocked like they have been, Colorado isn’t going anywhere.

From a financial standpoint Jimenez is what the Rockies need. He is an elite level pitcher who will make a reasonable $18 million over the last three years of his contract and with Tulowitzki and Gonzalez also signed long-term, the franchise’s core is intact. Arguing that trading Jimenez would free up some money to go after more pitchers is stupid because there is no one out there with Jimenez’s talent at a better price.

Like many Colorado fans out there I feel like this trade would end up haunting the Rockies organization a few years down the road as Jimenez is very capable of going on dominant hot streaks reminiscent of Roger Clemens.

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