The trade that sent Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians in August of 2011 initially appeared to produce few benefits for either team. Think that is still the case? A look at the facts shows that Dan O'Dowd likely contributed to the Rockies' path to mediocrity with this ill-advised trade.
In return for Jimenez, Cleveland sent the Rockies double-A pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride. White and Gardner are now long gone from the Rockies and McBride is mired in AAA, so the transaction has turned into a Jimenez for Pomeranz trade.
After a mediocre first full season with Cleveland in 2012, Jimenez has started 24 games in 2013 with the Indians, posting a 9-7 record and a 4.00 ERA. However, if three poor early season starts are taken out of these statistics, in 21 of these starts Jimenez is 9-4 with a 2.81 ERA and an average of 5 2/3 innings per start. In those starts, he has struck out 115 hitters, nearly 1 per inning. These statistics compare favorably with Jimenez' 2010 season when he posted a 19-8 record.
Conversely, Pomeranz has accumulated a two-season record of 2-13 with an ERA of 5.40 in his starts with the Rockies. He is currently in AAA trying to work his way back to the majors. While Pomeranz is still young enough that he could develop into an effective major league starter, there is growing concern that his promise may remain unfulfilled.
O'Dowd's stated rationale for trading Jimenez was that his accumulated innings pitched through 2010 were a sure indicator that his skills would decline. Since the trade, Jimenez has added 368 innings to that total and seems to have found his groove again.
When Rockies fans are next treated to another start by Jeff Manship, now 0-3 as the Rockies fifth starter, they can dream of what might have been. Jimenez, Chacin, De La Rosa, Chatwood and Nicasio would have been the most talented starting rotation in Rockies history. Instead, they will remember the Rockies 20th season as another disappointment -- due in no small part to the failures of Dan O'Dowd as Rockies general manager.