|Few fans pictured this image before the 2011 season began.|
Making the move even more shocking was that Jimenez was not only still in a Rockies uniform, he was on the mound, awkwardly pitching through a distracted final inning.
The finger-pointing began. In the clubhouse after the game, when the mood should have been somber, team leader Troy Tulowitzki made some scathing remarks that showed what fans later found out to be a huge issue throughout the failed 2011 season. There was a huge divide in the clubhouse.
On Wednesday, Tracy Ringolsby published an article for Fox Sports Arizona in which Jimenez revealed his side of the trade. It became apparent that the two contracts signed by fellow superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez had affected Jimenez's mindset.
Upset that he was left out and told to wait for another year, Jimenez was distracted. When injuries plagued his season, things got even more tumultuous in the clubhouse for the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Rockies history.
Read responses on Twitter and it is clear that many fans instantly forgave the club for the way they handled the situation. Suddenly, the blame fell onto Jimenez's shoulders. Some fans even antagonized Jimenez directly on Twitter, telling him that he is selfish.
The problem is, the article may have shown that the club wasn't completely at fault, but it definitely doesn't exonerate the team.
Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine being Jimenez. He had just posted the best season by a Rockies pitcher by far. His 2.88 ERA and 19 wins were both club records. He had thrown the first no-hitter in club history and started the All-Star game--all while calling Coors Field his home.
Ringolsby quotes Jimenez as saying "I read in the paper that they were only going to sign two guys, they couldn't do three guys."
While that may or may not have been the situation that the club was in, the problem lies in the fact that Jimenez was getting his news from the same source as the fans. He was reading it in the newspaper.
Why, after what Jimenez did, would the Rockies front office not have Jimenez very well-versed in the fact that he was in their long-term plans. Why wouldn't Dan O'Dowd, or Dick Monfort or both get on the phone or get on an airplane and meet with Jimenez. They didn't have to sign him then, they just needed to let him know that his day was coming. They needed to keep him in on the plan. Clearly, they never did that.
What that led to was a distraught Jimenez, who thought that despite his great season, was on the outs with the club. He came to Spring Training scorned, rather than feeling appreciated. Clearly it affected his training, which most likely led to his injuries that ultimately de-railed his season.
Was Jimenez immature? Absolutely. Did he handle the situation wrong? Absolutely.
However, imagine going to work and setting record numbers for the company. Imagine being the top member of the team and helping the company gain notoriety. Then, two other team members, who were also big parts of the company got rewarded with huge raises. The raises are publicly celebrated, with the boss saying that the core of the company has been locked up for years.
Isn't there a little hurt? Isn't there a little questioning that would go on to anyone that this happened to? There certainly would be a great amount of bitterness, even in the heart of the most dedicated and understanding employee.
The fact is, the Rockies dropped the ball with Jimenez. They may want the fans to see him as a problem. They may want to paint the picture that he wasn't a team player. The reality, however, is that Jimenez felt scorned by the club, and bitterness crept in. The lack of communication from the Rockies made him feel as if he was under appreciated. Was it justified? Maybe not 100 percent, but the feelings were legitimate, and very much understandable.
The Ubaldo Jimenez trade, no matter whose fault it was, and no matter how Drew Pomeranz and Alex White perform at the big league level, may forever be remembered as the darkest day in Colorado Rockies history.
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