Ubaldo Jimenez chose strikeouts over medicine

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a great article about Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, whose working-class family in the Dominican Republic made him turn down $20,000 to sign with the Mets as a 16-year-old:

They didn’t want me to sign until I finished high school. I always respected my parents, and I knew it was for my own good, so I didn’t sign. I always figured I was going to be a doctor anyway. … I used to love medicine. My mom’s a nurse. It’s something I grew up seeing. Every time people got sick, my mom would be the one who helped make them better.

He eventually signed with the Rockies when they agreed to let him finish high school. Passan’s article carries the clever headline “Jimenez gave up medicine to dispense pills” because last season he had the highest average fastball velocity in all of baseball while winning 15 games with a 3.47 ERA and 198 strikeouts. And now his older sister is the one studying to become a doctor.
Definitely check out the entire article, which has tons of good stuff (and good writing) about one of the game’s best and most intriguing young pitchers.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.