Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez traded to Indians

64 Comments

The deal is done. Or, almost.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have agreed to trade right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians for pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, and 26-year-old minor league first baseman Matt McBride.

The Yankees, Red Sox and Reds all had serious interest in acquiring Ubaldo, but only the Indians, in the end, were able to meet Colorado’s asking price.

Pomeranz, a 22-year-old southpaw, was the fifth overall pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft and has posted a fantastic 1.98 ERA and 112/38 K/BB ratio in 91 innings this season between Single-A and Double-A. White is also a prized young arm, though he’s been on the major league disabled list since late May with a strained ligament in his finger. McBride, a former second-round pick, has a .282/.345/.467 career batting line in the minor leagues. He’s slugged 15 homers in 96 games this year.

It’s quite a haul, but the Indians did not have to include second baseman Jason Kipnis or third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, and they’ve just made a significant upgrade to their starting rotation.

Jimenez, 27, owns a spectacular 3.62 career ERA and 8.2 career K/9. He’s making just $2.8 million this year and is owed just $4.2 million in 2012. His contract also includes an inexpensive option for 2013 ($5.75M).

UPDATE, 8:25 PM: According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, Jimenez has not yet been scratched from his scheduled Saturday start against the Padres and the Red Sox are still hoping to submit a late offer. The blockbuster deal with Cleveland might not be completely finished.

UPDATE, 8:36 PM: Jimenez has indeed taken the mound in San Diego, but CBS Sports’ Scott Miller observed that the right-hander didn’t go full throttle in his bullpen warmup. He may only pitch a few frames.

UPDATE, 9:01 PM: The Rockies will get a fourth player in the soon-to-be completed deal, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman. Jimenez is likely to be pulled after just one inning of work.

UPDATE, 9:09 PM: Jimenez allowed two doubles and issued four walks in an awkward and ugly 45-pitch first inning. He was then spotted hugging teammates in the dugout. The trade, it seems, is now final.

UPDATE, 9:24 PM: Renck reports that the fourth player heading to Colorado is 23-year-old right-hander Joe Gardner. He’s posted a 4.99 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 97-plus innings this year at Double-A Akron.

UPDATE, 10:40 PM: The deal will not be finalized until Sunday afternoon, according to BP’s Kevin Goldstein. Everything has been agreed upon, but Ubaldo first has to pass a physical with the Tribe.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
8 Comments

United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

Harry How/Getty Images
10 Comments

The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.