Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez traded to Indians

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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.

The Mets are a mess

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The Mets lost again on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Braves. It’s their sixth consecutive loss and the club is now in last place in the NL East. Not exactly the start the Mets envisioned.

Matt Harvey got the start, but lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on five hits and five walks with only one strikeout. After the game, Harvey said he was tight and that he threw yesterday expecting to start on Friday instead, per Matt Ehalt of The Record. Sounds like no one communicated to Harvey that he’d be starting this afternoon until it was too late for him to properly prepare.

Harvey started because Noah Syndergaard was scratched due to a “tired arm.” Syndergaard blew reporters off after the game, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma then added that Syndergaard ripped Mets P.R. guy Jay Horwitz for letting reporters approach him.

By the way, the Mets also lost outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a hamstring injury. Not much else can go wrong in Queens.

Joey Votto isn’t on board with the latest fly ball trend among hitters

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If you haven’t heard, fly balls — not ground balls or line drives — are all the rage among hitters these days. Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez summed it up perfectly last month when he said, “I’m not trying to hit a [freaking] line drive or a freaking ground ball.” The goal is to maximize damage. Last year, for example, fly balls became hits about 17 percent less often than ground balls (7.4% versus 24.6%), but hitters had a slugging percentage more than twice as much as on ground balls (.539 versus .267). This refocusing has helped hitters like Martinez as well as Ryan Zimmerman reinvigorate their careers.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is as much a student of new age analytics as anyone in the game, doesn’t feel that this approach is necessarily a good one, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto said:

Where I get concerned is the guys that make this attempt and burn out too much of their time and don’t get a chance to be their best selves, and either don’t make it to the big leagues or don’t perform their best in the big leagues because they’re always attempting this new style of hitting. I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things.

Votto added that while the fly ball approach is working right now, pitchers will soon adapt and the fly ball approach won’t be so good anymore. And he’s right. Baseball has always been a game of adjustments. For example, as teams have gotten comfortable with shifting their infield, hitters like the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have both dropped bunts down the third base line for easy hits. Knowing that hitters are aiming to hit fly balls now, pitchers may stay higher in the strike zone more often as one possible solution.

Votto is just trying to stay as well-rounded as possible. He says that he wants to become “unpitchable.” Votto wants to be like Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whom he describes as a guy “who can do absolutely anything he wants” and “at all times [has] all options.”

So far, Votto is having another productive season despite a relatively pedestrian batting average and on-base percentage. He’s hitting .238/.330/.563 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 94 plate appearances. Coincidentally, he’s been hitting way more fly balls than usual as he’s currently carrying a 42.3 percent rate compared to his 33.1 career average, according to FanGraphs. His line drives are way down to 16.9 percent compared to his 25.4 percent career average.