Ubaldo Jimenez Rumors
A few items of note regarding teams from MLB's Central divisions, as the Cards fall behind the Phils in Game 1 of the NLDS.
- The Tigers preferred Doug Fister to Ubaldo Jimenez when they were shopping for a pitcher before the trade deadline, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Whether that's true, we'll probably never know, but Fister certainly pitched better for Detroit than Jimenez did for Cleveland after the deadline. The Mariners were originally hesitant to move Fister, according to Knobler, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was persistent in pursuing the right-hander.
- The Reds tried to acquire Hunter Pence from the Astros, according to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, and GM Walt Jocketty has said he thought he made a better offer to Houston than the one it eventually accepted from the Phillies. McCoy reports that the Astros wanted Devin Mesoraco and adds that lefty Aroldis Chapman was not available.
- The Cubs remain in limbo while waiting to hire a new general manager, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, who notes that the fates of manager Mike Quade, his coaches, and several players are up in the air until someone takes the helm. The Cubs are unlikely to spend lavishly this offseason, according to Sullivan.
As the Indians celebrate Jim Thome Night at Progressive Field, it's only fitting that the veteran slugger provide the party's highlight. Thome hit his 15th homer of the year (and 604th of his career) this evening, which led to an obligatory curtain call for the Cleveland fans.
Here's the latest about the Indians and Reds, including one item about Thome himself...
- Thome says he's physically capable of playing another season, reports The Associated Press. Thome says he'll discuss things with his family this winter and he currently isn't leaning one way or the other towards retirement.
- Ubaldo Jimenez has regressed from his 2010 form, but MLB.com's Jordan Bastian argues that it is far too early for Tribe fans to give up on the right-hander.
- Dontrelle Willis "would love" to pitch for the Reds in 2012 and praised the organization for giving him a chance to resurrect his career, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Willis is an intriguing veteran depth option for any team, and since his asking price won't be too exorbitant, it wouldn't be a shock to see him re-sign in Cincinnati.
- The Reds' coaches will all return in 2012, Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).
Fresh off a weekend sweep of the Indians, the Tigers send Justin Verlander to the mound against the streaking Rays tonight. Here are links from the AL Central as Verlander looks to build on the Tigers' division lead and boost his Cy Young candidacy...
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that Minnesota was likely going to non-tender outfielder Delmon Young after the season, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (on Twitter). Instead, the Twins traded him to the Tigers.
- In a detailed piece, Rany Jazayerli explains that he doesn't like the Jeff Francoeur extension for the Royals, even though there's a good chance it'll work out and it probably won't hurt the Royals terribly.
- Twins slugger Jim Thome has wanted to return to the Indians ever since he left Cleveland in 2002, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com (on Twitter). Thome hit waivers earlier today.
- MLB executives tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that if the Twins gave a valued player like Thome away for nothing, it would draw major scrutiny (Twitter links). For example, there would be loud protests if the Twins released Thome so that he could sign with the Phillies or another team of his choice.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Manny Acta both acknowledged to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that their high profile summer acquisition, Ubaldo Jimenez, needs to make mechanical adjustments and modify his pitch sequencing (Twitter link).
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.
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."
There's now almost no chance that MLB will expand the playoffs by next year, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. It's far from a lock that the postseason will expand under baseball's upcoming collective bargaining agreement, despite heavy rumblings about expanded playoffs. The union views postseason changes as part of a series of related possible changes, which is why we won't necessarily see more playoff teams by 2012, according to Stark. Here are the rest of his rumors...
- Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has told commissioner Bud Selig privately that he wants to keep the Astros in the NL Central. However, MLB might look to move Houston to the AL West to even out baseball's divisions.
- Johnny Damon cleared waivers and can now be dealt to any team, according to Stark. Rival teams say Damon didn't draw heavy trade interest last month.
- Stark hears that the MRI the Indians took of Ubaldo Jimenez came back "remarkably clean."
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who has often been mentioned as a possible successor to Selig, isn't lobbying to become the next commissioner, according to a longtime associate. "If he did it, he'd do it out of loyalty to the game. But I wouldn't say he has a burning passion to do it."
- The Rockies are saying they'd like to swap Ian Stewart for another player who could use a change of scenery. However, other clubs recognize that Stewart is a non-tender candidate, so his trade value is not high.
- The Rockies could take a flyer on J.C. Romero, according to Stark.
- One NL scout says Dontrelle Willis looks as good as he has in three or four years.
Time for a new segment, where we analyze recent trade targets and compare them to their historical ancestors. First up: the recent Ubaldo Jimenez deal, and its historical twin: the trade of Ernie Broglio.
Consider that through his most recent start, Ubaldo Jimenez has pitched 864 innings with an ERA+ of 126. Broglio, from 1960 through getting traded during the 1964 season, pitched 942 2/3 innings with an ERA+ of 125. Broglio was 28 at the time of his deal; Jimenez was 27 when the Rockies traded him last month.
So why, exactly, do we fail to remember the "Ernie Broglio Trade" as clearly as we currently think of the "Ubaldo Jimenez Trade"? Let's take a closer look to find out.
The St. Louis Cardinals dealt Broglio on June 15, 1964. At the time, the Cardinals were 28-31, seven games out of first place, and obviously going nowhere. Why not deal Broglio for some young talent? The Cubs were eager to get Broglio, veteran hurler Bobby Shantz and backup outfielder Doug Clemens in exchange for pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth and a young outfielder named Lou Brock.
Ah, that's why it isn't called the Ernie Broglio Trade.
Spring, Toth, Clemens and even Shantz (once a very good pitcher himself) did little for their new teams. Broglio pitched moderately well for the 1964 Cubs, with a 4.04 ERA, before arm injuries ended his career by 1966. And Brock immediately became Hall of Famer Lou Brock, hitting .348/.387/.527 with 33 stolen bases following the trade. He'd go on to steal at least 51 each year until 1977, when he was 37. He stole 118, the single season record Rickey Henderson broke the next decade, as a 35-year-old.
To boot, the Cardinals team that had been underachieving so much that it felt it could trade one of its best pitchers and fire its general manager went on to win the 1964 World Series. And they had their arch rivals to thank for a trade that helped make it possible.
The question is, will any of the players Colorado received from Cleveland - Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joseph Gardner and Matt McBride - produce like Lou Brock? Drew Pomeranz looks like the best of the bunch, but he cannot even be officially traded to Colorado until August 15, nor is he expected to join the big league club when he makes the move. In other words, he could turn out to be the focal point of the deal, but he is unlikely to make Cleveland pay the same season the Indians traded him.
But is helpful to remember that history may not call this the "Ubaldo Jimenez Trade". Our children may think of it instead as "The Alex White Trade". After all, that's how it happened when the Jimenez-like trade target was... separated at birth.
The Yankees enter today's action tied for the American League's best record, while the Mets sit at just .500. But it was the team from Queens that enjoyed the better Saturday, slugging four home runs en route to an 11-7 win against the Braves, while C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees were beat up by the Red Sox. As the Mets and Yanks prepare for the rubber matches of their respective series, let's round up the latest links on the two clubs:
- Speaking to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, defended the Yankees' inactivity at the trade deadline: "We were ready to do something if there was someone who could make a big impact. If the kid in Seattle (Felix Hernandez) is available, that is different. But we didn’t see huge impact, and now we think we may get huge impact from kids we didn’t trade in August and September."
- Within the same piece, Blakeley goes on to discuss the Yankees' July pursuit of Ubaldo Jimenez, saying that the organization feels Ivan Nova "is as good as this version of Jimenez."
- The starting rotation won't be a priority for the Mets this offseason, as GM Sandy Alderson will focus instead on re-signing Jose Reyes and bolstering the bullpen, writes Newsday's David Lennon.
- While Alderson praised the performance of Terry Collins, the GM said the club wouldn't even think about extending the skipper's contract until after the season, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Collins is currently signed through 2012.
- Cory Wade, who has recorded a 1.86 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Yankees this year, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Rangers were also interested in signing him after he was released by the Rays, but the Yankees "made a stronger push."
In the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal, we learn how this year's trade deadline could have turned out drastically different..
- The Rockies wanted five of Boston's top prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez: Will Middlebrooks, Kyle Weiland, Josh Reddick, Felix Doubront, and Ryan Lavarnway. The Red Sox would have gotten more than just Jimenez in return as Rosenthal tweets that the Rockies offered Jimenez and outfielder Seth Smith in return for the quintet of prospects. There were other possible fits in such a deal including Ryan Spilborghs, Chris Iannetta, and Rafael Betancourt.
- The Rangers had enough prospects to get Carlos Beltran in addition to Koji Uehara and Mike Adams at the deadline. To do that, they would have needed to take either Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland out of the Adams deal as the Mets are fond of both. Rosenthal was told that one of the two pitchers was in the offer for Beltran.
- The Indians traded their two best pitching prospects to land ace Ubaldo Jimenez but the deal wasn't just for this season. Cleveland is mindful of the big picture and they have their key pieces locked up for the next few years. Jimenez, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Shin-Soo Choo are under control for the next two seasons while Justin Masterson and Chris Perez are under control for the next three. If the Tribe doesn't win in the next few years, they can always flip some of those players for prospects.
The Twins were willing to listen to offers for Francisco Liriano leading up to the trade deadline, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. However, Minnesota wanted a massive prospect return for the left-hander and no club met their asking price. Here’s the latest on the Twins with more of Stark’s notes from around MLB...
- The chances that the Nationals can restart talks with Minnesota about Denard Span over the winter are not good, Stark reports. Minnesota wanted Drew Storen for their bullpen in an attempt to win now, but the Twins’ sense of urgency figures to disappear this offseason.
- Rival teams say the Tigers and Red Sox each believed they were closing in on a deal for Hiroki Kuroda before the right-hander decided not to waive his no-trade clause.
- The Red Sox and Rockies discussed an expanded deal that would have sent Josh Reddick to Colorado and Seth Smith to Boston while considering possible moves involving Ubaldo Jimenez. Talks between the 2007 World Series foes had essentially stopped by Saturday, though.
- Though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has publicly said Domonic Brown was not available, Stark hears from three different teams that the Phillies were willing to move the young outfielder in the right deal.
- Teams that have spoken with the Phillies don’t expect them to be active on the waiver wire this month, since they want to avoid paying MLB’s luxury tax.