Anybody wondering why the Colorado Rockies never considered Ubaldo Jimenez to be in the same stratosphere as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez got their answer today.
Turns out the guy is hot-headed, and possibly a touch delusional.
Jimenez, who publicly steamed last week about the lack of respect shown him by the Rockies when they traded him to Cleveland rather than sign him long term, got his first chance to face his former team on Sunday. Before long, he had sent Tulowitzki to the hospital.
The right-hander’s first move was to drill Colorado’s All-Star shortstop in the elbow (test results came back negative). His second was to race toward the plate, daring an enraged Tulowitzki to come at him. After at first refusing to speak to the media after the game, Jimenez said that his post HBP histrionics were merely a reaction to Tulowitzki’s anger. “He was calling me out,” he said in a Denver Post report. “I mean, I’m a man. If somebody calls me out, I have to go.”
Tulowitzki’s drilling follows a time-tested tradition of players being punished for their teammates’ actions, be it the next hitter in the lineup dodging fastballs following a home run, or a slugger going down as part of a pitcher protesting a big inning.
Those tactics, however, are long outdated, and Jimenez knows it. Tulowitzki might have worn it because he’s the face of theRockies—not to mention the guy who got a big contract when Jimenez did not. (Tulowitzki and Gonzalez both signed monster deals after the 2010 season, the former for $134 million, the latter for $80 million, both over seven years. Jimenez signed for $10 million over four years prior to the 2009 campaign.)
Or he might have worn it for the statement he made in response to Jimenez’s initial cries of disrespect. “(Jimenez) had signed his deal and had years left on it,” the shortstop said. “Why would we give him something new when we didn’t see anything out of him?”
Jimenez said that his pitch was unintentional (it “got away,” he said), but that’s clearly not the case. Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie—in his first season with Colorado—said he knew what was coming based on where the catcher was setting up.
The umps, clueless, did not issue an ejection.
Two things worth noting:
- Jimenez was 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA when the Rockies traded him last season.
- Jimenez is 1-4 with a 7.43 this spring.
The guy gave the Rockies scant reason to lock him up last season, let alone rework his contract long before it was set to expire. He currently appears to be working his way out of the Cleveland rotation altogether. He should focus on things other than misplaced anger directed at guys who don’t deserve it.
Colorado and Cleveland don’t face each other this season, so the two won’t meet again short of the World Series. Should Jimenez face his old mates next year, however, it’s pretty certain that today’s activities will be revisited, with vigor.
Update: Rockies skipper Jim Tracy didn’t much care for Jimenez’ act, calling him “gutless” and calling for his suspension.
Update 2 (4-02): MLB didn’t much care for Jimenez’ act, either.
Update 3 (4-02): Watch it here.
Update 4 (4-03): Jimenez isn’t exactly reticent about the whole thing.
Update 5 (4-03): How not reticent? He’s appealing his suspension.