Ubaldo and the Indians

Ubaldo Jimenez (age 27; owed roughly $5.5 million through 2012; has club options in place for 2013 at $5.75 million and 2014 at $8 million)

On Saturday morning, it was reported by a major source that the Rockies might bring down their price, which made the Yankees very interested. By Saturday evening, the Rockies pulled Jimenez after one inning and let him say his goodbyes to everyone as it was reported that he would be traded to the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians will send over their top two pitching prospects in lefty Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Alex White, along with Matt McBride and Joe Gardner.

Both White and Pomeranz are considered nearly major league ready. Pomeranz still needs to refine his command, but his mid-90s fastball and plus curveball should have Rockies fan excited. White, still nursing a sore finger on his pitching hand, has logged major league time and is expected to be a quality number three starter.

As of this writing, this deal is done pending a physical.

It’s not the “Herschel Walker haul” that Colorado’s GM, Dan O’Dowd, was aiming for, but I do like the deal from the Rockies’ standpoint. At last season’s deadline, the Rockies could have expected much more, but this deal does restock them with some promising pitching prospects (something that has been lacking with injuries to Christian Friedrich along with a total meltdown from Tyler Matzek).

Looking at that awful acronym TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect), we should know that nothing is guaranteed—especially with young pitching—but this does give Colorado the chance to pull up a young arm or two while still being patient with others.

Looking at Jimenez in Cleveland, there is room for concern. It was widely publicized that the Yankees were interested, but delivery issues and diminishing velocity were chief concerns in their talks over the past few days.

Despite having an excellent July, Jimenez hasn’t been very economical and has averaged only 6.1 innings of work per start with 102 pitches per outing. However, he has shown much better command this month, with a walk rate of only 2.32 in contrast to his high strikeout rate of 11.03.

He may no longer have that overpowering fastball from his previous seasons, but he does show an ability to effectively mix his pitches and handle opposing hitters from both sides of the plate equally well.

For the Indians, this gamble doesn’t come with a lot of risk. They have the options to re-up his contract after 2012, and at less than $9 million per season, that could be quite a bargain for a potential number one starter.

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