O’Dowd: Rockies looking to add a starting pitcher

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Ubaldo Jimenez to Cincinnati?  Not at all likely.  The Rockies are aiming to land a starting pitcher, not subtract one, prior to the July 31 deadline.

Colorado GM Dan O’Dowd told the Denver Post’s Troy Renck that the Rockies are hoping to pick up a starting pitcher under team control beyond this season.

That makes sense, considering that the Rockies are 8 1/2 games back of the Giants in the NL West and 10 1/2 games back of the Braves in the wild card.  Known for some big second-half comebacks in previous years, the Rockies aren’t giving up on 2011 just yet.  However, they’re also not interested in mortgaging the future when they currently have a better record than just four NL teams.

Renck mentions Florida’s Anibal Sanchez as one possibility for the Rockies.  Sanchez, who had a strong case for a spot on the NL All-Star team, is making $3.7 million this year and will be eligible for free agency for the first time after 2012.

Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie, Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez and Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez are a few other pitchers who could fit for the Rockies.  I’d mention Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey as well, but as an extreme flyball pitcher, he’d likely have difficulties in Coors Field.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays; Yankees land Brandon Drury

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.