With each trade in the big leagues, more so than in other sports, comes great uncertainty. It is all about risk; it's a gamble, a roll of the dice. It's a choice of when, and if you are going to play the hand you were dealt.
Assume little. Don't assume double-A phenom Drew Pomeranz, though making significant progess in Akron, would have been the Indian's best starting pitcher two or so years down the road. Don't assume that Alex White would still be the same pitcher once he returned from 60-day disabled list stint.
Do assume that Jimenez' career post All-Star record is excellent at 27-18. Do assume that
his no hitter on April 17th, 2010 against the Braves was no fluke, and is waiting to happen again. Few teams in the American League have bared witness his 100 mile per hour four seam fastball, along with his tailing two seamer at close to 93 nicknamed "Uball." His power sinker also has above average velocity. Everything he throws moves.
Sound familiar? It should, because Jimenez's style of pitching is similar to that of Justin Masterson and Fausto Carmona. This is great for the Indians defense, which has had its recent struggles, including five errors against the Angles a week ago. The same pitching approach of the pitch to contact mentality with repetitive strikes will keep the Tribe's fielders on their toes, and help get them in a series long rhythm.
But luckily, this isn't another deja vu. Jimenez's delivery is much smoother than Carmona's, and he can get away with the high cheese because he throws hard. And it shouldn't present much of a challenge for the catching duo of Carlos Santana and Lou Marson, because they are used to pitches that move.
Take extreme note of this: Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti has inserted his trade market aggressiveness in just his first season at the Tribe's helm. Already having made two acquisitions in the past week, including the deal for Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, Antonetti is putting his eggs into the 2011 basket. The Jimenez deal one-uped the Detroit Tigers trade for Seattle's Doug Fister, and displayed Antonetti's ferocious competitiveness and will to win now. Fans should be ecstatic about that.
Sure the Tribe's top pitching prospect is gone. Sure they still lack a right-handed power bat, which is their prevalent weakness in their lineup. In order to get something, you've got to give something, and the Tribe got a special something. A recent All-Star selection, and National League All-Star starting pitcher in 2010, and a guy who has proven to be un-hittable at times, Jimenez gives the Indians a true number one starter more than capable of competing with the AL's top pitchers, including Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia, Jered Weaver, and others. Without one, the Tribe would struggle in the opening game of the playoffs, assuming they'd make it. With Jimenez, they now stand a much better shot.