It was a given that the Rockies would ask for the moon in return for Ubaldo Jimenez. Who knew they’d want a planet, too?
According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Rockies have asked the Yankees for catcher Jesus Montero, RHP Ivan Nova and the team’s top two pitching prospects — Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances — in return for Jimenez.
Jimenez is worthy of a big-time payout — he’d be under control through 2013 at a bargain price — but that’s an extreme return. One could argue that Montero and Banuelos are both better prospects than any of the three the Red Sox gave up for Adrian Gonzalez over the winter.
For trade talks to progress, the Rockies would likely have to drop their request for both Montero and Banuelos. At this point, the Yankees are probably more likely to part with Montero, who would have been the centerpiece of a Cliff Lee deal with Seattle last summer. He’s been a disappointment this year, having hit a modest .288/.347/.413 with seven homers in 281 at-bats for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Still, he has terrific offensive potential and he might flourish following a move to first base. That’s where the Rockies would likely put him, since they have already have an excellent catching prospect in Willin Rosario.
Banuelos, arguably one of the game’s top-five pitching prospects, has amassed a 3.64 ERA and an 86/45 K/BB ratio in 84 innings as a 20-year-old in Double-A.
In the unlikely event that the two sides are able to come to a deal, my guess is that it would involve Montero, Betances and a lesser prospect. The Yankees would likely prefer to trade Nova, who would be less likely to be needed in the short term with Jimenez around, but the Rockies are going to need at least one high-upside arm in return for their ace.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.