Why the Padres should consider trading for Ubaldo Jimenez


Ubaldo Jimenez would be a nice fit at PETCO Park. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Ubaldo Jimenez has been more than disappointing for the Cleveland Indians since they acquired him from the Colorado Rockies. He posted a 5.10 ERA with the Indians in 2011 and also had arm issues, which raised some red flags right after the Indians landed the power right-hander in hopes of a playoff attempt.

Ubaldo was underwhelming again this year, losing 17 games while winning just 9 in 31 starts. He posted a 5.40 ERA and struck out 143 (7.28 K/9) batters in 176.2 innings pitched. His velocity was down considerably, but when you dig a little deeper into his numbers last year, his peripherals where not far off his career average, which could imply he’s battling back from arm problems. Now, I know the San Diego Padres have had more than their share of injuries (especially pitchers), but it could be beneficial to take a chance on Jimenez.

Jimenez is still only 28 years old and only two years removed from a legitimate ace. He’s only making $5.75 million in 2013 with a club option ($1 million buyout) for 2014 at $8 million which would make him extremely affordable if he returns to ace form. The Indians could be looking to rid themselves of a few contracts, although dealing him now would not net the Indians the type of prospects they gave up to acquire him. While PETCO Park is being modified this offseason, it will remain a pitcher-friendly park that could benefit Jimenez, helping restore his value as a potential trade chip or in hopes of contending in 2013 for a playoff push.

The free-agent market for potential ace pitchers, or legit front-line starters is one of the weakest in years. In addition, while the Padres could attract many pitchers to PETCO despite the modifications, the price tag would be much higher in most cases without the ace potential. A change of scenery can help many players, and a pitcher-friendly PETCO Park can help a struggling pitcher regain his value. PETCO Park and Jimenez’ knowledge of the National League West could do wonders for him and the Padres.

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  1. On Choo vs. Denorfia and Venable:

    I get a little sick watching Venable strike out on a curve every other AB. Both Venable and Denorfia are pretty good, and I think they will stick with that platoon, and Venable will do well with the park changes, but I just feel like Venable could also turn out like Hundley did last season.

  2. I just don’t see Choo being as a significant upgrade to the Deno/Venable platoon you do in terms of production. Especially when you take into consideration what we would have to deal to acquire him. I like Adams coming back. I agree we could deal some pieces.

    I just see pitching the priority, not RF. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Josh Byrnes has shown he isn’t shy to pull the trigger on deals. So, we shall see.

  3. I expect him to be in AAA as well, I have been watching Liriano since I started following baseball. About 4 years ago, I have watched him develop and grow as a prospect. It would be incredibly painful to see him go, but I think Choo would be an excellent piece. Torii Hunter would be another interesting piece, I forgot to add, if they don’t think they can keep Choo long term, we shouldn’t trade Liriano for him.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one of Sampson, Portillo, Erlin, Kelly, Wieland dealt.

    My personal preference would to be sign Haren, trade for Jimenez, sign Hunter, and sign Adams.

    Signing Hunter to a one year deal becomes more important with Grandal’s suspension.

    (Cabrera/Forsythe)-Gyorko-Headley-Quentin-Hunter-Alonso-Grandal-Maybin is an impressive lineup.

  4. Who are you suggesting the Padres trade to acquire Jimenez and Choo? I wouldn’t deal Liriano now. He’s tearing up the AFL and is closer to the Show some believe. He’s the Padres number one prospect. And I think he could be a Justin Upton type player.

    I’d like Choo, but regardless of how annoying it is to have to watch right field be a platoon scenario, Venable/Deno were in the top half of offensive production last year. So, that’s not near the Padres biggest priority.

    I would get one reclamation pitcher with high upside, via trade or Free Agency, and another to solidify the rotation and eat innings for the young pitchers who have been injured.

    I expect Liriano to be in AAA this year.

  5. Haren+Jimenez+Luebke+Volquez+Richard
    Grandal+Alonso+Gyorko+Cabrera+Headley+Quentin+Maybin+Choo
    Street+Adams+Gregerson+Thayer+Vincent+Brach+Thatcher

    This is a team I wouldn’t mind, figure out a way to get Choo AND Jimenez even if it means losing Liriano.

    This is all around early June, as Luebke will not be healthy and Grandal suspended.

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