According to George King of the New York Post, the New York Yankees are looking into a deal to acquire Colorado Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. It was reported that the Yankees were one of 17 teams that scouted Jimenez's start on Thursday. This might not seem like much but recent developments have said otherwise.
King reports today that the Colorado Rockies are scouting players in the Yankees Triple-A and Double-A systems. This is very important for the future of a potential deal because it shows that the Rockies could have interest in players like Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, Brandon Laird, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and other major prospects. Barring potential injuries to these pieces of a trade, a deal could be in the works for both the Yankees and the Rockies.
I know that it might almost seem like bad news that the Yankees would have to give up so much, in terms of prospects, to get Jimenez. In my opinion, it would probably take a package of Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova and Manny Banuelos or Delliln Betances. There is no indication as to whether or not the Yankees would be interested in giving up those prospects, but to me it seems like a nice deal.
Montero seems to have several concerns defensively as to whether or not he could catch at the big-league level. Many scouts are projecting him to be a first baseman or designated hitter. Since the Yankees are aging and will need to fill up the DH spot by alternating players like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, I do not think that they would be able to use the bat of Montero to its full advantage.
I really like Nova and the work that he has done this year. He has greatly improved from month to month, and there is no telling how well he could potentially pitch by the end of this long stretch. The main issue is that there is mainly potential and little guarantee for success. That is the reason why Nova needs to be traded.
This deal would seem similar to the Curtis Granderson deal, in that Ivan Nova projects to be the type of pitcher that Jimenez was before last year. Same thing with Austin Jackson, as he was projected to be an outfielder like Curtis Granderson at best. Thus, the Yankees need to trade for the sure thing. Nothing against Nova, though.
There is a similar concern with Brandon Laird as there is with Montero. He is not a great defender at third base and will not be able to fit well in the Yankees system. Hoping that Alex Rodriguez will be able to man third base for the next three years, there will be no room for Laird. It is true that Alex Rodriguez could DH for a substantial amount of games, but that still does not give Laird enough at-bats to reach his potential.
If the Rockies highly value Laird in their scouting efforts, the Yankees need to include him in a trade. This is simply a sell-high tactic they should implement.
With both Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, you just get the feeling that they could drop off in Triple-A. It is not likely that both will become successful major league starters, so the Yankees need to evaluate their talent and decide which pitcher has the most potential for the future of the major league team. We have seen this year that, with all of the hype, both Banuelos and Betances have struggled with their control. This seemingly minor problem right now could spiral out of control and become much more conspicuous once these pitchers reach Triple-A and the majors.
At these higher levels, flaws tend to become magnified.
The Yankees need a No. 2 starter at the moment. They cannot rely on Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to carry the load, as both pitchers are unproven and can only be back-end pitchers in the rotation, at best. In order to line up against pitchers like Jon Lester and Cliff Lee deeper in the playoffs, the Yankees need a proven starter.
Jimenez has pitched in the 2007 World Series and has been the ace for the Colorado Rockies. He has a 4.08 ERA right now, but he has improved. Since June 1, Jimenez is 5-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in nine starts. He has walked 13 in 59.2 innings.
I am not saying that the Yankees need to give up all of these prospects for Jimenez, but it is likely that the Rockies are looking for a package centering around the following:
1. Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos/Dellin Betances and a B-level prospect (like Brandon Laird).
2. Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Jesus Montero.
As of now, few teams are actually out of contention. The Rockies are drifting out of contention, as they are 8.5 games back of first. This is why it is becoming more and more feasible for a deal to take place, especially if the Rockies can continue staying put in the NL West or plummet even further. As long as they do not have another crazy second-half surge, a deal could be moving ahead.
It seems like Jimenez is the only option, as of now.
Some of the other pitchers that are on the Yankees radar include Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, Mark Buehrle and Erik Bedard. Yankees fans wish that Felix Hernandez could come to the Bronx in a blockbuster deal and maybe that could happen.
With the unexpected news of the availability of Ubaldo Jimenez, anything seems possible right now.