Rockies have spoken with Yankees about Ubaldo Jimenez

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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.

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.