Well, first off, what a great game tonight. Man, we needed a win, especially after last night’s ugly fiasco. I admit that I was ready for Hafner to crank one out of the park when he came up. The likelihood of his getting on base seems to increase with the number of buttons he has unbuttoned on his jersey. In his last at-bat, he had so many buttons undone it was like Russell Brand was at bat. But tonight was Matt LaPorta’s night to be the bottom of the 9th, two-out hero, giving the Indians a 5-2 win. And the Tigers lost to the Angels, 5-1, And White Sox lost to the Red Sox, 10-2, so the night gets better and better. We’re now only 1.5 games out of first, while Chicago is 3 games out.
The win is good news, the Indians trading for Ubaldo Jimenez is big news (okay, huge news). During the game tonight, the Indians reportedly agreed to a deal with the Colorado Rockies to bring the right-handed Jimenez (6-9, 4.20) to Cleveland in exchange for pitching prospects Alex White and Joe Gardner and first baseman-outfield Matt McBride. Pitcher Drew Pomeranz is also part of the deal, but he can’t be traded until August 15 (a year after signing his first professional contract).
Although he isn’t having the Cy Young-consideration, start-the-All-Star-Game season he did last year, when he went 19-8 with a 2.80 ERA, Jimenez is a fantastic pitcher. And at 27 years old, he’s just entering his prime. He’s also affordable–$2.8 million this year and $4.2 million in 2012. I know the Indians don’t have deep enough pockets to sign a guy like him in free agency, so in many ways the deal makes sense. I do have to say though that I’m very sorry to see Alex White and Drew Pomeranz go.
I was at White’s major league debut this season and was impressed by what I saw. I remember standing by the Indians bullpen before the game, watching White warm up. He looked confident and relaxed. I liked his motion and his presence. And ultimately he looked pretty good on the mound too, winning his first game. As for Pomeranz, the Indians scouted that kid so thoroughly that I’m kind of surprised they’d give him up. These guys were supposed to be the face of the Indians starting rotation in a few years. The Rockies signed Jimenez as an amateur free agent in 2001, when he was only 17. I know that the Rockies fans are going to miss Jimenez. They expected him to be the face of the Rockies’ starting rotation for a while longer. But they need prospects. We need another ace.
So welcome to the Tribe, Ubaldo. We don’t have mountains but we do have a lake and beaches. You won’t have to bat and you won’t have to wear purple. You’ll still have snow in the winter. Um, I think that’s it. Hope we can give you some run support.