According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are “aggressively pursuing” Ubaldo Jimenez, while others think the Indians are a “big threat” to land the Rockies right-hander.
Heyman says the Reds and Blue Jays also remain interested and that the Yankees are lurking.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark, on the other hand, reports that the Yankees’ interest “seems to be waning” and that they may now be focused more on Hiroki Kuroda.
From the Rockies’ perspective, the Indians might be a more attractive suitor than the Red Sox. In Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, they have two pitching prospects superior to any that Boston can offer. Not that they’d necessarily be willing to part with both. But they can build an offer around one of the two and maybe outfielder Nick Weglarz. They’d almost certainly have the best shot of landing Jimenez if they were willing to trade one of the two pitchers and either third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall or second baseman Jason Kipnis.
The Red Sox can’t match that top-level talent, not after trading both Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly for Adrian Gonzalez over the winter. They do have a lot of depth, though, and they could potentially offer the Rockies four or five significant prospects for Jimenez and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.
An Ubaldo trade looked like a long shot a week ago, and it’s still likely less than 50/50 to get done. But the way the rumors are heating up suggests that the odds have gotten shorter these last 48 hours.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.