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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.