Now, with three days left before the deadline, there is a real chance that the Colorado Rockies move Ubaldo Jimenez.
Could this move seriously happen? It doesn't seem like a deal will get done. By all accounts, the Rockies asking price -- as it should be -- is enormous. They are asking the Reds to part with catching prospect Devon Mesoraco, flame-throwing Cuban Aroldis Chapman, and another player, possibly young lefty starter Travis Wood.
Don't hold your breath waiting for those names to be traded, especially Mesoraco. The catching prospect is hitting over .300 with an OPS of nearly .900 in the pitching-friendly International League. Reds fans have been eagerly awaiting his arrival at the big league level since he was drafted 15th overall in the 2007 draft. Big prospect catchers don't come around often, the Rockies know that better than anyone, therefore, they rarely get traded.
The Rockies are asking for a similar enormous package centered around pitcher Manuel Banuelos, a pitcher Mariano Rivera said has more talent than anyone he has ever seen, and a couple more prospects. Again, that move isn't going to happen.
The reality is, the Rockies will have to lower their asking price greatly if they really want to move Jimenez. Frankly, they would be stupid to do that.
Trading Jimenez, if it were to happen, would have to be a no-brainer. It would have to fill so many holes for the Rockies that they would have no choice. After struggling for essentially two months, then heading down the road to recovery, should not be a trade-able offense for Jimenez. The reality is, with his velocity down and his movement and confidence not always there, the right-hander may never be the early 2010 pitcher again. However, his early injuries may have set him so far back that he is simply having a down year.
Troy Renck, the Rockies beat writer for the Denver Post, has done a great job of reporting and investigating every ounce of Jimenez news available. He has reported that Jimenez took a trip to Europe in January, much to the Rockies chagrin, instead of pitching in winter ball like he customarily has in years past.
The Rockies believe that Jimenez's trip made his early injuries more pronounced because his arm strength wasn't built up and therefore he has been behind all season long.
With that information, the thought might be that this is a wake-up call by the club. This is their way of sending a message that Jimenez must continue to get better in order to earn a long-term deal like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Maybe it is the club's way of trying to help Jimenez develop a killer instinct on the mound. This might possibly be the way the club is trying to make things a little less comfortable in a stale Rockies clubhouse that seems content with losing.
Another possibility, first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, is that Jimenez has had a rift with pitching coach Bob Apodaca. Frankly, if the club wanted to ship Jimenez, the best talent that the Rockies have seen on the mound in their history, because of a setback with their pitching coach, then they have their priorities all messed up. It's not like Jimenez is a clubhouse problem. It's not like he has a bad attitude. The reality is, if Jimenez is having a fight with Apodaca, then it is time for him to go, not Jimenez.
For the Rockies, the decision does not need to be made before the July 31st deadline, they could easily re-visit the idea in the offseason. However, the reality remains, if they are not able to hit the jackpot and fill multiple big league holes immediately, than they should call Jimenez into the office and explain to him their offseason expectations of him and believe that he will be the 100 MPH-throwing Jimenez in a season right around the corner.