There was a time when Ubaldo Jimenez was the best thing. He was the [Insert Awesome Pitcher's Name Here] of 2010, spawning GIFs in the nascent days of turning our entire world into one long animated yet soundless image. He threw harder than most guys with more movement than most guys – a deadly combination and treat for the eyes.
Unfortunately, Ubaldo could not match his performance over the first half of 2010. He was eventually traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians in 2011 as Cleveland made their first of two ill-fated first half charges. It looked like a good deal at the time for both sides, as Colorado received some well-regarded prospects and the Tribe picked up a potential ace on an attractive contract.
Not only did Jimenez fail to replicate the form of his 2009-2010 run of domination, when he posted more than 13 rWAR over 439 innings, he started looking like he might be a non-tender candidate. He was a below replacement-level starter for Cleveland across his first 40 or so starts in the American League.
As Cleveland geared up over the winter for a potential dash toward the playoffs, their rotation was the biggest question mark. What could they reasonably expect from the unpredicatable likes of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and the rest of a middling group of starters? More to the point: which Ubaldo would show up?
Over the last month of so, Cleveland has happily watched as the Ubaldo of old returned, leading the Tribe to within a half game of the AL Wild Card. Not a moment too soon, either.