jimenez wider getty

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.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
5 Comments

Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.