The Rockies still feel like they’re in contention in the weak National League West despite an ugly first half and haven’t fully committed to selling off pieces. But that could change as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches, and one player drawing league-wide interest is right-handed ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Yankees have engaged in discussions with the Rockies’ front office about acquiring Jimenez. The Red Sox, Tigers, Reds and others have also been linked.
Jimenez signed a team-friendly contract extension with Colorado in January 2009 that calls for a bargain $2.8 million salary this season, a $4.2 million salary in 2012, and contains affordable club options for 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million). If the Rockies were to deal the 27-year-old right-hander, it wouldn’t be about dumping salary. It would be about seizing the opportunity to cash in on a high demand for quality starting pitching. Which means they’ll be asking for a boatload of young talent in return.
The Yankees might not be prepared to meet the asking price. According to Heyman’s source, young pitchers Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Ivan Nova have been deemed off-limits. Jesus Montero, on the other hand, may be available and has reportedly piqued the interest of the Rockies’ front office.
Jimenez has registered an underwhelming 4.08 ERA in 18 total starts this season, but he has a 2.56 ERA and 54/13 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings since the start of June and garnered Cy Young Award votes in 2010.
If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.
It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:
Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.
The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.