Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the best stories of the baseball season last year. The former Rockies pitcher went 15-1 in 18 starts before the All-Star break and was nearly unbeatable. He had a sub-1.00 ERA in June and had thrown a no-hitter. He rode a fastball in the upper-90s with crazy movement and a wicked breaking ball to unprecedented Coors Field success for a pitcher. Ubaldo finished the year 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA. He had established himself as an ace in the National League and he was expected to anchor the Rockies’ staff for the future. But it all changed this season.
Ubaldo entered the year reportedly dissatisfied with his contract situation. He had seen the franchise give Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez major contract extensions while he remained signed to a team-friendly deal. He got rocked on Opening Day and ended up on the disabled list with a finger injury. Turns out he was battling other nagging injuries since spring training, and it looks like a lack of proper preparation prior to the season is to blame.
In a lengthy article published by The Denver Post Sunday, the entire story of how and why Ubaldo Jimenez was traded is explained in great detail. Based on the article, it seems like a lengthy European vacation leading up to the season had Ubaldo on the wrong path. “He has a tremendous work ethic,” shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said of Jimenez. “But I do feel like he didn’t fully prepare himself for the season. It doesn’t mean guys didn’t like him. That’s not the case. It was really tough to take to see him traded. At the same time, when I’m struggling, I reach out to my teammates for help. He didn’t do that. Guys asked him what was wrong, but we weren’t able to help him.”
I don’t know how bad it is that he didn’t ask for help from his teammates, but it is bothersome that Ubaldo didn’t do all he could to properly prepare for the season. We went through this same issue with Cole Hamels the year after he helped pitch the Phillies to the World Series title. He took it easy in the offseason and ended up hurting his team in 2009.
As the ace of the staff, you have an obligation to your team and teammates to properly prepare for a season. It sounds like Ubaldo didn’t do that, and that could be why he’s struggled throughout the year.Google+