Colorado Rockies trade rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez likely staying and other odds and ends
For the fan base, this Rockies team has to be annoying on almost all fronts. Given pre-season expectations, they are probably the most disappointing team in baseball. Their stars are obnoxiously average and injured. And the only trade of note the team is likely to make before the deadline on Sunday would be to ship off the best pitcher in franchise history. Did we mention the NFL lockout has been lifted?
The story on a potential Jimenez trade is essentially the same as it has been since rumors first surfaced: The Rockies don't necessarily want to trade him, but will if they receive an excessively generous offer, which they can demand, given the barren starting pitching market. Jimenez is easily the best starting pitcher said to be available, so the Rockies can ask for three sure-fire prospects, including a pitcher who can step into the rotation immediately, which is what they reportedly want in return for their ace.
The New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds are the most interested in Jimenez, but as many as seven teams have made inquiries. Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Yankees are unwilling to give up their top prospects for Jimenez. Colorado would be interested in three of them.
The Post story notes that Yankees management is not under pressure to make a move for a starting pitcher and the Rockies have no reason at all to lower their price. If they don't get an offer they like, they will simply keep their ace, who is signed to a very reasonable contract. Most interesting, though, is this claim from Sherman: "The growing sentiment in the industry is that Colorado is not just listening on its ace, but wants to move him before Sunday's deadline."
As for the Reds, General Manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer the team isn't close to making any deals and that there are certain players who he won't trade. The Rockies are likely asking for those players, because, once again, they can.
The growing risk for the Rockies is that Jimenez becomes increasingly disgruntled about having his name run through the rumor mill half a season after posting the best year in franchise history. Throughout this trade talk, rumors have been floated and denied that Jimenez was angry that players such as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez were given lucrative extensions during the off-season while he wasn't, and that he has a growing disconnect with pitching coach Bob Apodaca.
If a team gets desperate before the trade deadline and overwhelms the Rockies, they will move Jimenez. That would mean a franchise sees Jimenez as a real difference-maker who's worth mortgaging a certain amount of its future. But given his performance this season, Jimenez will likely stay in Denver.
Every other Rockie potentially on the move is a distant second to Jimenez in terms of relevancy. Since the Rockies have been making sweet love with mediocrity, management has been trying to work out a trade for Jason Giambi to a relevant contender. The Philadelphia Phillies seem to be his destination, but a quadriceps injury has landed him on the disabled list and put that trade in limbo.
Rookie Chris Nelson was brought up to fill Giambi's roster spot, so it might make sense for the Rockies to deal newly acquired Mark Ellis and give Nelson another shot at second base. But the Rockies like Ellis, want him to stay here, and should only deal him if assured they would have a good chance to re-sign him as a free agent after this season.
Ty Wigginton, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Iannetta are other names that might be on the move by Sunday, but nothing team-altering appears imminent. The Rockies' trade deadline activity will likely have a lot in common with their season -- namely, frustration and irrelevance.
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