If the Indians brought up Pomeranz and White this year and they posted these numbers, it wouldn't have brought anyone visions of Justin Verlander:
White 10 games / 3-4 / 7.01 ERA / 1.68 WHIP
Pomeranz 4 games / 2-1 / 5.40 ERA / 1.31 WHIP
Now, while Pomz did actually channel some Verlanderean starts, his overall body of work produced the above numbers. Actually, for someone as young and inexperienced as he is coming off of an appendectomy, it really was impressive. I don't think anyone believes he's gonna be a bust. But White is no sure thing for success.
Ubaldo 32 games / 10-13 / 4.68 ERA / 1.40 WHIP
Jimenez certainly did not overly impress anyone after he came on his white horse to the Indians. But he wasn't as bad as some may try to show. Beyond a couple of exceptionally poor starts, he actually threw pretty well. He just didn't come over here and dominate, but that's what he'll need to strive for next year...domination. Or, at least, more like a 3.30 ERA and 15 wins. That's money well spent in my book. But if you followed the Indians, you'll recall that he had quite a few starts where going into the sixth or seventh inning he had pitched quite effectively, only to give up (or have the bullpen give up) two or three runs late to bloat his ERA. Hopefully, the off season helps him to adjust to his new location. Hopefully, he also drops a few extra pitches and finds some control.
Meanwhile, if the Indians just gave up Pomz and those other two guys you'll never hear from again, would it be seen as a poor risk? White will likely be a fourth or fifth starter in this league, nothing Tomlin or Gomez can't produce. So, the trade really boils down to Ubaldo for Pomeranz... which one will help the Indians more in 2012 and 2013?
While it remains to be seen, Ubaldo is more positioned to do just that, as he had led a staff in the major leagues and has gone through the rigorous MLB season for five years. Pomeranz has... well, Pomz has thrown a number of games above AA ball that you can count on both hands. Jaret Wright had more experience in his first year (1997) than Pomz did in 2011. But both were expedited to the bigs quickly from AA ball, so the comparison is pretty sound. In Wright, we saw the impact a competitive hard thrower can have in short sample size. He almost carried the Indians to a World Series title. Wright was 8-3 that year with a 4.38 ERA. Over his 11-year MLB career, Wright managed a sub-4.00 ERA exactly ONE TIME, in 2004 with the Braves, when he was 15-8 with a 3.24 ERA, one of FOUR seasons he threw more than 100 innings.
While Wright is a prime example of how injuries can derail a career, he's also the poster boy for the phenom with unrealized potential. For every Verlander, there's five Todd Van Poppels. In that respect, we need to look at Pomeranz as an unknown entity, and while Wright only managed a sub-4.00 ERA once, Ubaldo has done it three times already in his first five seasons.
So for the Indians, who are hoping to contend in 2012 and 2013, the known entity in Ubaldo is better suited to fill the need for the Tribe than Drew Pomeranz. Will Ubaldo outperform Pomeranz in 2012? Only time will tell, but for now, I'm guessing the Indians made the right move.
Published: October 18, 2011