Drew Pomeranz Rumors
The Indians have overhauled their roster via free agency this season, adding the likes of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds on Major League deals while bringing in notable veterans such as Matt Capps and Daisuke Matsuzaka on minor league pacts. At the 2011 Trade Deadline, however, the Tribe addressed its biggest needs in a different manner, dealing a package of four prospects to the Rockies in exchange for then-ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Cleveland traded right-hander Alex White (22 years old at the time), first baseman Matt McBride (26 at the time), righty Joe Gardner (23 at the time) and lefty Drew Pomeranz (22 at the time) to Colorado in exchange for Jimenez, who had at least two and a half years of team control remaining on a low-cost contract. It was a steep price to pay, as Pomeranz and White represented the Indians' first-round picks from the previous two drafts. Gardner, meanwhile, had entered the season as Cleveland's No. 9 prospect, according to Baseball America.
The Major League Side
- Ubaldo Jimenez: To say Jimenez has been a disappointment in Cleveland would be putting things lightly. In 242 innings with the Indians, Jimenez has a 5.32 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. He entered 2012 with a career ground-ball rate near 50 percent, but saw that mark plummet to 38.4 percent last year. His once-blazing fastball has dropped from an average of 96.1 mph from 2009-10 to just 92.5 mph in 2012. His 4.8 BB/9 last season was a career-worst, and he led the American League in both losses (17) and wild pitches (16). In spite of all that, Indians GM Chris Antonetti exercised the team's $5.75MM club option on Jimenez this past offseason in hopes that he can rebound to something in the vicinity of the ace-caliber pitcher he once was. Jimenez is just 29 years of age still, and the price was right for Cleveland to give him another shot. His performance in 2013 will be one of they key factors in Cleveland's fate as their revamped roster makes a run at dethroning the reigning AL Central champion Tigers.
- Drew Pomeranz: Pomeranz has a 5.01 ERA in 115 big league innings for the Rockies. His 1.9 K/BB ratio isn't exactly inspiring, but he was significantly better in a small minor league sample last season. Pomeranz posted a 2.31 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A (46 2/3 of which were at Triple-A). He's still just 24 years old and is one year removed from entering the season as BA's No. 30 overall prospect and MLB.com's No. 24 ranked prospect. His fastball was down to averaging 91.2 mph season after previously sitting several ticks higher, but BA noted prior to 2012 that his ability to keep the pitch down in the zone and his deceptive delivery allowed the pitch to play at lower velocity. If Pomeranz can regain some of his velocity and/or hone his command of the strike zone, there's still time for him to blossom into the No. 2 starter BA and MLB.com projected him to be.
- Alex White: Like Pomeranz, White struggled greatly in his Major League time with the Rockies. He posted an unsightly 6.30 ERA in 134 1/3 innings for the Rox from 2011-12. His marks of 5.9 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 were significantly worse than his Triple-A rates of 7.8 and 3.0, respectively. White put the ball on the ground frequently in 2012 (54.1 percent) but lost more than a mile per hour off his fastball, dropping to a 91.2 mph average (identical to Pomeranz's, oddly enough). White was injured at the time of the trade and missed 82 games in the 2011 season with a strained ligament in his finger. How much that impacted his 2012 results remains to be seen, but he'll have a chance to prove he's worthy of a spot in a Major League rotation. It won't be with the Rockies, however, as the team traded White to the Astros along with Alex Gillingham to acquire ace setup man Wilton Lopez.
The Prospect Side
- Joe Gardner: Gardner ranked as Colorado's No. 25 prospect prior to the 2012 season but dropped off the club's Top 30 list this year. He ranks 18th among Rockies' farmhands according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, however, who calls Gardner's sinking fastball a "groundball machine" and notes that his change-up has some deception that leads to swings and misses. He also features a "slurvy" slider that Mayo grades out to be slightly better than his change but worse than his fastball. Gardner worked primarily as a starter at the Double-A level, but Mayo notes that he was very sharp in a five-appearance bullpen cameo. In total, Gardner compiled a 3.97 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 138 1/3 innings during his age-24 season. Today is his 25th birthday (Happy birthday, Joe!), and should have a chance to crack the big league roster this season with a strong minor league performance.
- Matt McBride: McBride is currently Colorado's 33rd best prospect, according to BA, though they note that most of his value comes as a utility player due to the fact that he can play catcher on occasion. BA notes that he's a poor defender whether behind the plate, in right field or at first base, and that his ability to make frequent contact is accompanied by a lack of home run power. McBride hit .205/.222/.308 in 81 plate appearances for the Rockies last season, walking only once and whiffing 17 times. He did manage a .344/.365/.535 triple slash line at Triple-A. Still, at 27 years of age, he's not much of a prospect at this point, which was reflected in Colorado's decision to remove him from the 40-man roster in November.
That Joe Gardner and Matt McBride posted the best 2012 numbers of anyone involved in this trade is a telling sign. To be blunt, the deal currently doesn't look good for either side. A rebound campaign for Jimenez or a breakout from Pomeranz would alter that, but surely both teams had visions of aces in their minds when pulling the trigger on this deal -- not a host of 5.00+ ERAs. Colorado picked up some value in flipping White for a strong bullpen arm with three years of team control remaining, though that could prove regrettable if White puts it all together as an Astro. For the time being, three teams are simply left hoping that they can squeeze some value out of the once highly regarded talent in this deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:
- The Phillies were surprised Ben Revere was available and, in fact, it was the Twins who brought his name up in trade talks after dealing Denard Span to the Nationals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Within the same article, Brookover writes the struggles of Domonic Brown were one reason the Phillies were forced to alter their offseason blueprint. "We were hopeful that Domonic would lock down one of those corner outfield spots," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He did not do that. He still may do that...but we can't necessarily count on that to happen. Because of that, then we were kind of filling all three outfield positions."
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon provided additional contract details for some of the players the Reds have signed within the last month including right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has more than two dozen different escalators, incentives, and bonuses written into the two-year deal he signed last month.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jeff Francis are near locks for the first four slots in the Rockies' starting rotation leaving Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and Chris Volstad jockeying for the fifth spot, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets the candidates for the Rockies' rotation change daily, but the final two spots could come down to Nicasio, Pomeranz, and Chatwood.
- Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, envisions the recently signed Chone Figgins in a Alfredo Amezaga-type role, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Amezaga played every position, except pitcher and catcher, during his four-year stint in Miami.
The Braves defeated the Rockies 1-0 this afternoon behind one unearned run and another strong start from Tim Hudson. Atlanta now has a 78-60 record and their chances of making the playoffs exceed 90%, according to Baseball Prospectus. Here are today’s links, starting in Colorado...
- There are still no winners in the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland for Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. White and Pomeranz have been disappointments in the year-plus since the 2011 trade and both must improve the command of their secondary pitches to start seeing better results, Renck writes.
- The Mets are expected reduce their losses from the $70MM range to $23MM this year, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports. The Mets cut their payroll considerably last offseason and it currently sits in the $94.5MM range, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Their payroll is expected to stay in the same range for 2013.
- Jurickson Profar belongs at the MLB level even if he isn't as physically imposing as some of the sport's other young stars, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. Profar, the 19-year-old shortstop prospect who was recently called up by the Rangers, has impressive makeup at a young age, Passan writes.
The Rockies have designated catcher Matt Pagnozzi for assignment and transferred Ryan Spilborghs to the 60-day disabled list to create roster space for infielder Thomas Field and lefty Drew Pomeranz, according to a team press release.
Pomeranz was acquired as the player to be named later in this summer's Ubaldo Jimenez trade with the Indians. The 21-year-old was selected fifth overall in 2010, and posted a sparkling 1.78 ERA with a 10.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 through 101 minor league innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He entered the season ranked 61st by Baseball America among MLB prospects, and a dominant pro ball debut has only raised that stock.
Pagnozzi, 28, hit .275/.337/.421 in 198 Triple-A plate appearances in 2011. He also went 6-for-21 in a brief Major League stint with the Rockies, his third taste of big league action. Pagnozzi also got 49 plate appearances from 2009-10 with the Cardinals. An eighth round selection by St. Louis, Pagnozzi was released and signed a minor league deal with the Rockies this past offseason.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post took some time to answer questions from his followers on Twitter just now. Renck touches on a lot of offseason topics for the Rox, so let's take a look (all links to Renck's Twitter):
- If traded, Jason Giambi would prefer to go to the Phillies, but he isn't looking to get traded and would likely be claimed before Philadelphia got a chance at him. Giambi would like to return to the Rockies next season, and Renck sees it happening.
- It's been well-documented that the Rockies would like to add a bat at third base or in the outfield, and Renck says that Michael Cuddyer will be the team's top target in free agency.
- Eric Young Jr. has shown value, but doesn't fit the club unless he's playing second base, according to Renck. Young could be traded, while Ian Stewart will likely be non-tendered.
- Renck predicts that the Opening Day rotation will consist of Jhoulys Chacin, Alex White, Esmil Rogers, and two veterans. Jorge de la Rosa, Juan Nicasio and/or Drew Pomeranz could join the mix in May. Renck notes that De La Rosa is ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
- Kevin Millwood, who currently has a 4.26 ERA in four starts (25 1/3 innings) for the Rockies, could be one of those veterans, but on a minor league deal.
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wants to see Davey Johnson return as the Nationals' skipper in 2012. Earlier this week, GM Mike Rizzo raved about Johnson's ability to connect with his players.
- The Mets haven't yet had internal discussions about picking up the 2013 option for manager Terry Collins, but they'll likely discuss the possibility within the next month, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from someone connected to baseball management who wonders why MLB players don't insist on slotting. Capping bonuses does have potential benefits, but as Rosenthal explains, it's far from an ideal system.
- The Astros wanted Wilin Rosario or Drew Pomeranz for Wandy Rodriguez, but the Rockies were only offering Jason Hammel, Casey Weathers or Christian Friedrich, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Talks between the two teams reached a standstill yesterday, after the Rockies claimed Rodriguez earlier in the week.
- The Blue Jays announced that they signed non-drafted free agent Luke Willson, a left-handed hitter who also plays tight end for the Rice University Owls.
The Astros pulled Wandy Rodriguez back off of waivers, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Rockies claimed Rodriguez yesterday, but balked when Houston insisted on obtaining prospects and salary relief for the 32-year-old.
Technically, Houston GM Ed Wade could place Rodriguez on waivers again, but if he does so, he'll no longer be able to pull the left-hander back. The Astros' best chance to trade Rodriguez could be this offseason, when they can engage all 29 of their rivals in the bidding.
Rodriguez earns $10MM next year and $13MM in 2013. If he's traded, the Astros $13MM option for 2014 becomes a player option. Rodriguez has solid numbers this season (3.41 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 153 innings), but the Rockies picked up ten hits and six runs (four earned) against him at Coors Field today.
The Astros wanted Wilin Rosario or Drew Pomeranz plus salary relief for Rodriguez, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). That deal wouldn't have worked for the Rockies, but they were willing to take on Rodriguez's entire salary, according to Renck.
On this day in 2006, the Rockies signed Juan Nicasio as a 19-year-old amateur free agent. Five years later, the right-hander, who started 13 games for Colorado this season, is recovering from surgery to his C-1 vertebrae. As Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post wrote earlier this week, such an injury can lead to paralysis or even death, but Nicasio is "doing at least as well as anyone associated with the Rockies could have hoped for," and intends to pitch again. We wish him the best of luck in his comeback. Here are the rest of today's Rockies notes:
- Drew Pomeranz, who joined the Rockies this week to complete the Ubaldo Jimenez trade with Cleveland, underwent an emergency appendectomy last night, according to the Tulsa Drillers twitter feed. Pomeranz's agent, Steve Rath, confirmed news of the surgery, which figures to end the left-hander's season, to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- In a separate piece for the Post, Renck briefly discusses the Rockies' outfield possibilities for 2012. According to Renck, players like Josh Willingham or Michael Cuddyer could be free agent targets, while Eric Young Jr.'s recent strong play in the outfield is improving his trade value. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also addressed the Rockies' desire for a big bat, either in the outfield or at third base, in his Full Count video yesterday. Renck adds that Colorado would be "first in line" if the Mets made David Wright available this winter.
- In another Denver Post column, Renck and Armstrong provide readers with an extended look at how this year's blockbuster trade with the Indians came about.
Ken Rosenthal has his weekly Full Count Video up over at FOXSports.com, so let's take a look:
- All GMs -- past, present, and prospective -- would love a crack at the Cubs' recent opening, says Rosenthal. Some GMs who are in their last contractual year, like Brian Cashman of the Yankees, line up better than others. Rosenthal feels the Rays might let Chicago interview Andrew Friedman, but finds it highly unlikely that the Red Sox would allow the Cubs to interview Theo Epstein, who is under contract through 2012.
- While the Nationals have spent almost $40MM on the Amateur Draft in the past three seasons, Rosenthal says they'd be wise to check in with their first draft pick ever: Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is controlled through 2013, but Rosenthal likens him to another prominent young star, saying that Zimmerman is to the Nats what Troy Tulowitzki is to the Rockies. He feels the Nats should approach their cornerstone about a similar extension before he gets so close to free agency that he considers testing it.
- The Mets were far from the only team interested in Mike Minor at the July 31st trade deadline. The Indians offered the Drew Pomeranz to the Braves in exchange for Minor, thinking that with Atlanta trying to acquire Hunter Pence at the time, the Astros may prefer Pomeranz to Minor. Cleveland would get a more Major League-ready arm in return, but the Braves had no intention of dealing Minor.
- The Rockies will look to add a big bat this winter, preferably at third base or a corner outfield spot. If they can find a third baseman despite a weak market, they may be inclined to pursue a leadoff hitter like the Twins' Denard Span. Rosenthal says the Rox have long coveted Span, and almost drafted him in 2002, but instead took Jeff Francis due to concerns over Span's asking price. Minnesota grabbed Span 11 picks later at No. 20 overall, though they showed a willingness to move him at this year's deadline when negotiating with the Nats.
WEDNESDAY: The Rockies announced that Pomeranz is officially theirs, and he'll start tonight for Double-A Tulsa.
TUESDAY: Southpaw Drew Pomeranz has officially joined the Rockies organization, according to this tweet from the pitcher. He'll head to the Rockies' Double-A affiliate in Tulsa. Pomeranz's inclusion as the headliner in the Indians' acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez has been baseball's worst-kept secret since the trade deadline. He had to wait until today to begin his Rockies career because drafted players cannot be traded until one full year after signing.
Pomeranz, 22, made three starts for the Indians' Double-A club prior to the trade and didn't miss a beat, posting strong numbers similar to those he had in 15 High-A starts. Baseball America ranked him as the 14th best prospect in baseball in July, while ESPN's Keith Law had him 35th in his rankings that month. Prior to the season Baseball America praised his plus fastball and curveball, but noted that he must "corral his control."