Indians Sending Top Pitching Prospects To Rockies For Ubaldo Jiménez

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Why The Marco Scutaro Trade Should Make The Indians Nervous

The Red Sox and Rockies made a trade over the weekend, but here's why the Cleveland Indians should be a little weirded out by it.

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Report: Indians Acquire Ubaldo Jiménez From Rockies

Red Sox? Yankees? Bah. The upstart Cleveland Indians have reportedly come out of nowhere and snatched Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jiménez from the grasp of the big boys, completing a trade Saturday that will send two of their top prospects to Colorado in exchange for Jiménez.

The trade came with a weird twist. With rumors flying well before Jiménez's scheduled start against the Padres in San Diego, Jiménez warmed up before the game and took the mound in the first inning, while Colorado's Esmil Rogers was warming up in the bullpen. Jiménez wasn't sharp, walking four Padres and giving up a pair of two-run doubles. Jiménez finally escaped the first inning, trailing 4-2 and having thrown 45 pitches. Rogers finally took over in the second inning.

Apparently the Rockies sent Jiménez to the mound with hopes of extracting a fourth player from the Indians, and apparently it worked.

Specifically, the Rockies are getting: Alex White, the Indians' top right-handed pitching prospect; Drew Pomeranz, the Indians' top left-handed pitching prospect; Matt McBride, a 26-year-old 1B/OF who seems like a throw-in; and right-handed pitcher Joe Gardner, who entered this season as a decent prospect but has struggled this season in Class AA.

Pomeranz hasn't actually been announced yet; the Indians' first-round draft pick last year, he didn't sign until August 16 and can't officially be traded until he's been an Indian for one full year. So for now, it's White, McBride, Gardner and PTBNL.

There's been some skepticism about the Indians, who a) even with Jiménez, still look look like the third-best team in the A.L. Central, and b) have just given up two of their top prospects, which isn't something you're supposed to do when operating with a relatively tiny budget.

Well, a) is true, but b) isn't nearly as worrisome as you might think. It wouldn't make sense for the Indians to trade two real prospects for a rental ... Jiménez is much more than that. The Indians now own Jiménez's services through 2013, for the bargain-basement price of roughly $10 million. That's the sort of money even the Tribe can afford ... and if they decide next summer that even that's too much money, they can always flip Jiménez for some other team's prospects.

The only real risks here are that Jiménez isn't good, or gets hurt. But if he's healthy, they're unlikely to come away losing on this transaction.

Meanwhile, it's still not completely clear why the Rockies would give up on Jiménez at this point; because they had a 2014 option on him -- an option now voided, since he's been traded -- Jiménez was actually more valuable to the Rockies than he is now, to the Indians. White and Pomeranz are both outstanding prospects, and both have a decent chance of pitching in an All-Star Game someday. But for a young pitcher, the road to stardom is loaded with potholes, oil slicks, and those things highway patrolmen stretch across the road to kill the tires on getaway cars. There's a really really good chance that Ubaldo Jiménez will win more games over the next two months and two years than White and Pomeranz will, together.

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Indians, Rockies In "Serious" Talks About Ubaldo Jiménez

Ubaldo Jimenez will cost the Colorado Rockies an average of $6 million over the next three years. The Rockies have repeatedly said that they would need to be overwhelmed with prospects to move their ace. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, things might be getting overwhelming:

Rox in serious talks w Indians. Hearing would center around (Drew) Pomeranz, Alex White and (Jason) Kipnis.

Jon Heyman had a similar tweet, indicating that the Rockies were also asking for Lonnie Chisenhall.

Jimenez's $8 million option for 2014 is voided if he's traded, so his contract is more of a reason for the Rockies to keep him, rather than a reason for the Indians to trade for him.

Still, those are some serious prospects that the Indians might be dangling. Pomeranz was the fifth overall pick in the draft  last year, White was the 15th pick the year before that, Chisenhall was the 29th pick in 2008, and Kipnis was the Indians' second-round pick in 2008. Basically, the Indians might have been drafting little pieces of Ubaldo every year for the past three seasons.

Update: According to Jon Heyman, Ubaldo was scratched from his start tonight. Heyyyy-ohhh!

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jiménez Pursued By Red Sox, Reds, Indians

The Ubaldo Jimenez situation has been a tough one to figure out. For a time, it seemed like the Rockies were just floating his name to measure his value, and weren't serious about moving him. Then there were whispers that the Rockies really wanted to find a deal. Then the talk was that the Rockies' asking price remained unreasonable. So it hasn't been easy to nail down whether the Rockies want to move Jimenez or not.

But if nothing else, they have budged. Reports Jon Heyman:

price on ubaldo down a tad. not asking for banuelos now. betances, montero, nova would work. nyy still says no.

So the Rockies have apparently lowered the asking price a little bit. They aren't making any progress with the Yankees, but a handful of other teams remain interested. Jon Morosi:

, , are still on Jimenez, sources tell . aren’t having active talks with at this time.

The Red Sox are eager to find a starter and may have backed off Erik Bedard after his poor start on Friday. The Reds have a million prospects, although they're drifting from contention and consider a few of their youngsters untouchable. And the Indians definitely have the prospects to get Jimenez if they're willing to make a splash, which they may or may not be. All of these teams make sense.

As for the Yankees, they could re-emerge as a serious suitor at any time, as they have the pieces. With fewer than 24 hours to go until the deadline, you have not heard the last of Ubaldo Jimenez trade rumors.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Tigers Effectively Out On Ubaldo Jimenez

That didn't take long. Earlier Friday, we told you that the Tigers were rumored to be the latest team to make a charge at Ubaldo Jimenez. It seemed as if they had the necessary pieces if they wanted to get something done. Now, via Danny Knobler, we learn that the Tigers are just about out of the running:

According to sources, the Tigers were once again basically out of the Jimenez derby, with the door remaining only slightly open for the Tigers to come back for another try.

It was fun while it lasted. The Tigers could mount a desperation charge, in theory, but that seems unlikely, and at this point it looks like Jimenez is going to Boston, New York, or nowhere. Or, hell, I don't know, rumors and activity can come out of the blue over the final few days, but that's the current situation. Cleveland's got a shot, too, but they probably wouldn't want to pay what the Rockies are looking for.

The Tigers seem certain to add a starting pitcher. It just won't be Jimenez, unless things seriously change.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Tigers Emerge As Strong Ubaldo Jimenez Suitor

We've heard an awful lot about the Ubaldo Jimenez trade negotiations. We've heard that the Yankees are the best fit. We've heard that the Reds are the best fit. We've heard that the Red Sox are aggressive in pursuit. We've heard that the Indians are a potential big threat. Now, via Ken Rosenthal, we're getting talk about the Tigers:

Sources: #Tigers strong interest in #Rockies' Jimenez. Willing to include Turner in deal. Do not want to subtract from big-league club.

The Tigers have been rumored to be in on pretty much every single pitcher on the market, so it makes sense that they'd be in on Jimenez, who is probably the best of the bunch.

What could they offer? Their desire to keep the big league roster intact could be a problem, but a willingness to include Jacob Turner would be a good start. Turner - the ninth overall pick in 2009 - is a 20-year-old righty starter ranked by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect before the season. Over 113-2/3 innings with double-A Erie, he has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks, which are good marks for a player so young.

It would take more than Turner to get a deal completed, but he could be a centerpiece. Stay tuned, as I'm sure there will be much much more on Ubaldo before the deadline passes.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jiménez Still Hot Commodity

Another day, another list of teams that covet Ubaldo Jiménez (because really, who wouldn't?) ...

#redsox aggressively pursuing of ubaldo. #indians, #reds, #jays also fit & r interested. #yankees lurking. #tradedeadlineless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Yankees lurking? It's hard to think of a more frightening prospect. Orcs, maybe. Or Bud Selig at 5 in the morning.

Why do so many teams "fit"? Because Ubaldo Jiménez is immensely valuable. He's not particularly young, but he's quite good and he's relatively cheap. For the Red Sox and Yankees, his salaries over the next few seasons would essentially be a rounding error in their budgets. Those other teams aren't as wealthy, of course. But if things don't work out for them (and Jiménez) this season or next, they can always flip him for prospects roughly equal to the prospects they gave up to get him.

Got all that? I know it sounds complicated, but it's actually pretty simple: The most valuable commodity in baseball is a good player who comes cheap, and that's Ubaldo Jiménez. One Ubaldo Jiménez is worth two (or three) top prospects, because even top prospects don't have anything like a 100-percent success rate.

Neither do Ubaldo Jiménezes, of course. But he's a pretty good bet. Both in 2011 and beyond.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Indians Going After Ubaldo Jiménez

To the Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and others, you may add the Indians to the list of teams trying to swing a deal for Rockies ace Ubaldo Jiménez. From Ken Rosenthal, Wednesday afternoon:

The Yankees and Reds are perceived to be the teams with the best chances of landing Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

Another club, however, is strongly in the mix, according to major-league sources.

The Indians.

The Indians are poor, but money's not really a consideration here because Jiménez is owed just $4.2 million in 2012 and $5.75 in 2013. He's affordable for any team in the majors. What's more, while the Indians will have to deal two or three top prospects to get Jiménez, in the event that they're not contending next summer, they could quite probably deal him for two or three other top prospects. Unless he's hurt.

Or ineffective. But that seems unlikely. While Jiménez's ERA has taken a tumble this season, his underlying performance is roughly the same as it was in 2010 and 2009; he's a very good pitcher who might have a bit of room for growth. Even without the growth, he would make every team in the majors better.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jiménez Deal Remains A Possibility

The Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes have been difficult to figure out from the beginning. Jimenez is an incredibly talented pitcher signed to an incredibly team-friendly contract. So when word first got out that the Rockies were willing to make him available, there was some feeling that they were just doing so as a trial balloon to figure out how highly he's valued around the league, and that they weren't serious about moving him unless they were absolutely blown away.

But then Jon Morosi checked in with this:

The chances of Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez being dealt are now "around 50/50," according to one major league source close to the talks.

And Joel Sherman added:

Feeling from execs is want to find trade for Jimenez , calling. Surprise is kicked tires

It's not much, but it's something, given that until now the belief has been that Jimenez would stay put. Word is that the Rockies are still shooting for the moon, but if they're actively seeking out a deal, their demands could lower in the coming days, suddenly making a Jimenez trade a more appealing possibility for a contender.

Jimenez is signed through 2012 with 2013 and 2014 options, the second of which Jimenez may void if he's traded. After a rough start to the season, Jimenez has been strong through his last dozen starts, and he's probably the best pitcher on the market, in terms of both ability and results. This is our best bet for a true trade deadline blockbuster.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez Deal 'Unlikely'

The Colorado Rockies have had a disappointing season; expected to contend for the NL West title, they stand seven games under .500 and 11.5 games behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants. Unless they have a 2007-style miracle in them, they may make some deadline deals, and there have been rumors that starter Ubaldo Jimenez might get moved.

The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports Tuesday morning that a deal involving Ubaldo is unlikely even though there are “several” teams still interested:

The Rockies’ original intent on making Jimenez available was to motivate him and to fill a void in a barren market. Offers for Jimenez have been intriguing enough to continue listening.

The Rockies have asked the Reds for top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco, flamethrowing reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Chris Heisey, among others. The Yankees, Red Sox , Tigers and Rangers are lurking too. For now, no team is prepared to meet the Rockies’ asking price.

Jimenez can’t be a free agent until 2014 and he is relatively inexpensive, making $2.8 million in the third year of a four-year contract signed before 2009. He’ll make just $4.2 million next year and the Rockies hold options for 2013 and 2014. While Colorado may not contend this year, they’ve shown that they can rebound quickly from bad seasons. Unless someone blows them away with an offer, they’d probably be best advised to keep Jimenez in the hopes he’ll help lead them to the postseason in 2012 and beyond.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez Coveted By Red Sox, Others

Ubaldo Jimenez might be the best pitcher on the trade market ... if he's on the trade market. Perhaps Jimenez simply falls into the category of Nobody's Untouchable, or You Have to Listen. But his name's been bandied about so much over the last week that the Rockies might be not only listening, but listening with interest. Which is a different thing.

Here's the latest, from CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler:

The Red Sox are the latest team to inquire, sources said Tuesday. It's not yet clear how serious that interest is, or how strong a match there would be. The Red Sox have also continued to monitor the Carlos Beltran market.

While the Yankees' interest in Jimenez has been widely reported, some people familiar with the Rockies plans believe that the Reds or the Rangers would have a better chance of landing the ace right-hander. Both Cincinnati and Texas are said to have enough young talent to motivate the Rockies to make a deal.

The Red Sox might have the least amount of minor-league talent to trade, but they might also have the most to gain in a trade for Jimenez, considering the wafer-thinness of their starting rotation. Even if Jon Lester comes back strong, their rotation as currently constructed would look awfully flimsy in October.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez And The Yankees

Rumors have the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and the Texas Rangers interested in Ubaldo Jimenez. Why, oh why, would the Rockies even think about trading him?

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