MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees Interested in Ubaldo Jimenez

Via George King of the NY Post:

The Yankees were one of 17 teams in Denver on Thursday night to watch Ubaldo Jimenez pitch.

According to several talent evaluators, they have a better than average chance to acquire the 27-year-old because they have the top-shelf prospects the Rockies are looking for.

In mid-June the Rockies started getting calls on Jimenez and were told they weren’t actively shopping him, but if teams were willing to talk about moving their best prospects the Rockies would listen…

…According to a person familiar with the Rockies’ mindset, they believe Jimenez has pouted this year because Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez received contract extensions and he didn’t.

“They are annoyed at him,’’ the source said of Jimenez, who is 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA but pitching better lately after starting the season 0-5.

The Rockies recently scouted the Yankees’ Triple-A and Double-A teams and like Jesus Montero but not with the idea of using him at catcher. Instead, they view him as a first baseman. They also are high on pitchers Manuel Banuelos and Dellin Betances.

So Jimenez is available, but he won’t be coming cheaply. The Yankees have been very against involving any of their top three prospects in deals, for a top of the line starter though they might change their tune.

The big question is, is he worth it? Earlier in the week Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues discussed the possibility of landing Jimenez from the Rockies and determined that a deal for him could be similar to the one that sent Dan Haren from the A’s to the Diamondbacks a few years ago. In that deal the A’s netted themselves six prospects including Carlos Gonzalez so it seems that any deal involving the Yankees and Jimenez would include at least one, probably two, of their top three prospects and then other top prospects in the organization as well.

Again though, is it worth it? Jimenez is clearly an amazing talent, going 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in Colorado of all places last season. His numbers have dropped this year though and his track record hasn’t been long enough to this date to consider him a can’t miss front of the rotation guy. On top of that his velocity has taken quite a fall this season from a year ago, perhaps a sign that last season put a lot of stress on his arm.

His strikeout and walk rates are at their career levels though and his FIP and xFIP are right in line with his career totals even though his ERA isn’t, so perhaps it’s a bit of bad luck. Still, the loss of velocity, although not tremendous, is alarming. Any deal for Jimenez is going to sting, to say the least, the farm system. It’s hard to imagine dealing a large portion of the team’s best prospects for a guy who isn’t even 100 percent healthy.

At the same time this may be just the type of pitcher that Brian Cashman has been waiting to become available on the trade market. With no big name starters expected to hit the free agent market until at least 2013 this may be the time the Yankees have to pounce.

Is it worth it? Hard to say, but if they can swing a deal without giving up Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos they shouldn’t hesitate at all. If one of them has to go, it might be hard, but depending on the other prospects the trigger might have to be pulled. If both go, then the Yankees should hold up. If both are gone and Jimenez turns out to be A.J. Burnett then the Yankees are just screwing themselves.

Either way a deal for Jimenez is going to sting and sting bad and would likely change the face of the Yankees farm system. Personally I feel like the Yankees certainly should try diligently to work out a deal, but they shouldn’t force it. Jimenez just doesn’t have the track record to go all in.

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10 Responses to MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees Interested in Ubaldo Jimenez

  1. Susan says:

    I am more in favor of this deal than the Kuroda one. Though I'd not give up the farm. Anytime I see a pitcher already losing velocity at such a young age I am wary. We don't need another Phil Hughes on our hands. But admittedly his upside is a hundred times that of Kuroda so if something reasonable can be worked out I say go for it. But I doubt the Rockies will let him go without demanding a king's ransom. I'd look more in the direction of someone who's proven they can pitch in the big leagues, aka the American League, not the little boy's league over there. Mark Buehrle or Fransico Liriano come to mind.

    • Pitching in Colorado is probably the closest you can get to American League ball in the NL. Although he does have the benefit of the unbalanced schedule that lets him play more often in San Diego, LA, Arizona, and San Fran – all pitchers parks.

  2. HeckRock says:

    The sample size of those pitcher's park's #'s is too small to be relative in this situation. It even's out anyway so it's all irrelevant if not a smart sounding point to make. Susan hit the nail on the head, we don't need another young pitcher losing velocity who has been "mishandled" (if that's even possible). They will no doubt call it that if he fails or gets hurt even though pitchers threw all the time years ago & they seemed to be stronger for it. I would trade him for fantasy, but not in real life unless they took Romine & the lesser of those 2 guys & Brackman & a few other whoevers. Hell I'd even toss in some cash – we ARE the Yanks right?

  3. Sorry for changing subject but when are we getting rid of Mitre, there is Noesi for long relieve and for what Mitre is doing let's use Whelan, Kontos, Wordekemper or the new lefty Romero right now, OMG

  4. stevehenn says:

    My thoughts have always been if Montero goes, then Felix Hernandez better be coming back. I'd argue against dealing Montero, Betances, Banuelos unless it's Felix.

  5. nyc says:

    Obviously u get this deal done no matter what, are u people freaking nuts? Jimenez started slow this yr, but has been dominant his last 9stars, and is only 27 freaking yrs old.. The yanks could very well add him and Sign CJ Wilson in the offseason, and have a 1,2,3 of CC, Ubaldo, and CJ, with AJ as our 4th starter, and that is ridiculous rotation, wtih tons of options for the 5th starter and a bunch of guys who can step in if a injury occurse, despite the loss's of prospects for Ubaldo.. The yanks farm is extremely deep, and by the time they even felt the pain of losing a Betances or Banuelos, we'd have 2more yrs of develpment outta Jairo heredia, Jose Ramirez, Nik Turley, evan leduca, Caleb Cotham, Graham Stoneburner, Jose Quintana, brett marshall, bryan mitchell and so on and so fourth.. Our farm is really deep, and we'd still have solid guys plus Ubaldo on the big club.. Its a NO BRAINER! Call up and offer Montero, Gardner, Nova and Betances, and get this done!

    • The problem I have is that the guys behind Banuelos and Betances are not nearly as good as them. Out of all the guys you mentioned, only Mitchell really has front of the rotation stuff. The rest are middle of the rotation at best.

      • Maxwell says:

        Couldn't agree more. We have a deep stable of arms but ony 2 or 3 with front of the rotation potential. I wouldn't give up any of them for a guy like Jimenez. First off, we've seen too many pitchers flame out, over the years, after a couple of good seasons. Ubaldo has not earned the true "ace" label yet and I wouldn't give up Montero, Betances, or Banuelos for anything less than bonafide ace. Felix, maybe. Haven't we learned our lesson? Stripping our farm system for quick-fix moves is not the way to win. We tried that all through the 2000's and it led to a whole bunch of nothing. Homegrown talent + smart FA signings brings the rings.

  6. John says:

    Montero is supposed to be a monster hitter and you would figure teams would want him badly. So why do the Yankees seem so desperate to get rid of him? I guess its clear they have no place to play him so other GMs seem to know his value is down. Shame I heard so much build up and would hate to see him become a great hitter elsewhere.

  7. David K. says:

    If they are looking to move him, there is probably something wrong with his arm, the Rockies are not stupid. Maybe offer one of the Betances/Banuelos arms plus two other arms. But I'd hang onto Nova because right now he's the second best starter on this team, or would be if they hadn't foolishly sent him down. I'd like to hang onto Jesus Montero also because with A-Rod hurt and Russell Martin continuing to hit .220, there is a big chance they will need his bat in the near future.