Rockies Trade Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland

The Colorado Rockies did indeed trade their ace Ubaldo Jimenez, but it was not to the Yankees. Instead they dealt him to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for three minor leaguers and a player to be named later.

The players the Rockies landed were right handed pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner and infielder Matt McBride. The player to be named later is expected to be Drew Pomeranz, a first round pick from 2010 that as ranked as the 14th best prospect in all of baseball this preseason by Baseball America. White was ranked 47th. The Yankees rough equivalent would have been Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Ivan Nova, and another prospect.

The Yankees had been discussing a possible deal for Jimenez this week, but talk apparently fell apart after the Rockies refused to allow the Yankees to perform a physical on Ubaldo before finalizing a deal, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post. From that point the Yankees refused to include any of their big three prospects in a deal and instead insisted on a package headlined by Phil Hughes, Sherman reported.

So the Yankees missed out on the third ace-caliber pitcher to be traded in the past 13 months (the others were Cliff Lee and Dan Haren). This deal was ultimately not done because the Yankees didn’t value Jimenez as an ace and saw him as more of a no. 2 or 3 starter. The big fear was that Jimenez’s three-mph drop in velocity was a possible sign of future arm trouble.

It’s hard to say at this point whether or not it was smart not to make a bigger effort and land Ubaldo. The Yankees rotation is currently ranked 5th in the AL in terms of ERA and they look like they won’t have much trouble making the playoffs. Getting Ubaldo wouldn’t have changed that. It may have increased their chances once they reach the playoffs though.

The state of the rotation going forward past this season has bigger question marks too. CC Sabathia will likely be back in 2012, but with his opt-out looming that isn’t a guarantee. Despite the seasons Colon and Garcia have put together they are unlikely to be back next year. Despite the fact that by not dealing for Jimenez they get to keep Banuelos and Betances, they likely won’t be ready to start next season in the Bronx. So that leaves the Yankees with A.J. Burnett and Hughes as the only pitchers they know they have for the rotation next year.

So by not pushing harder for a deal the Yankees are worse off for this season and next, but they still have major pieces to move in a future deal. It’s also very possible that Banuelos and Betances become major rotation pieces in 2013 and beyond.

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