When the Cleveland Indians traded for Ubaldo Jimenez in a deadline-deal in 2011 for their two top pitching prospects, they were hoping to get the pitcher that had competed for the Cy Young Award the previous season. But what Jimenez has done over the past season and a half has been, to put it nicely, mediocre.
Last season, the number two pitcher on the Indians’ staff posted an awful record of 9-and-17 with a 5.40 ERA. He had lost total command of his pitches, and it seemed like once one thing went wrong, you could forget about him. He would never recover after that. In under two seasons, the Indians gave up their top pitching prospects for a 13-and-21 record with a 5.25 ERA.
Jimenez makes his season debut tonight in Toronto against the new look Blue Jays. The Indians have some new faces as well, but if they want any chance at contending into August and September, they need Jimenez to return to his pre-2011 form. The biggest question mark for this team is the starting pitching. After a slow start, Justin Masterson settled down and looked promising in the season opener. It is up to Jimenez to follow that with a strong outing.
With the previous winter set for getting healthy and working on his command, tonight will be the first chance to see if this off-season paid off for Ubaldo. This is a potential contract year for him, so I look for Ubaldo Jimenez to have a strong season. But after this game, we will be able to tell if Jimenez has found himself, and whether we could look forward to October baseball in Cleveland again.