Ubaldo Trade Declares Tribe Is All-In
By Mike Brandyberry
Randy Johnson. Roger Clemens. Curt Schilling. Pedro Martinez. Mark Teixeira. All names the Indians have discussed since 1994, in hopes of a winner, but refused to give up prospects because they wanted to protect the future.
Alex White reportedly called the deal, “stupid,” as he left Canal Park in Akron, scratched from his rehab appearance.
Indians fans may, or may not, like the deal to trade Drew Pomeranz, White, Matt McBride and Joe Gardner to the Colorado Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez, but the message is very clear, the Indians are trying to win now and the next two seasons. They’ll figure out the rest later. Entering Saturday’s contest, Jimenez is 6-9, with a 4.20 ERA this season. A year ago, Jimenez was 19-8, with a 2.88 ERA and was third in the National League Cy Young voting.
John Hart and Mark Shapiro would never pull the mega deal at the trade deadline to try to put the Indians over the top, but in only his first year as the Indians general manager, Chris Antonetti has probably made the trade that will define his career with the Tribe. Since 1994, the Indians have never put all their chips in the middle, but tonight Antonetti and the Tribe decided to go all in. Fans, who are questioning the move, have begged for a trade like this in the past.
Jimenez is under Indians control through 2013. That gives the team three chances at a World Series crown. The Indians, who will most likely acquire another bat for the lineup on Sunday, will certainly do everything to contend from here on out. They have no choice, they’ve mortgaged the future and possibilities for right now. A move the opposite of their norm for the last two decades.
Shortly after Saturday evening’s game, the team also traded Orlando Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for Thomas Neal, meaning they are electing to go with Lonnie Chisenhall at third base and Jason Kipnis at second base. No more platoons with an aging veteran. The team is playing to win now, with players of today and tomorrow.
Tonight’s decision probably means a couple things. No way the Indians exercise Grady Sizemore’s option. That money will be needed to obtain additional, immediate help for the team. Also, players like Fausto Carmona and Matt LaPorta need to produce now, or they will be jettisoned in the off season. The Indians have no time to waste, they opened the window to contention tonight and it most likely closes after 2013.
If the move works, Antonetti will be remembered for his gamble, if it fails, he’ll be remembered for the loss. Fans don’t have to agree with Antonetti’s decision, to give up the Indians top two pitching prospects, but they have to respect his move to push his chips to the middle and say, “All In.” No other GM has had the courage. For the first time ever, let’s go for it!