It was a given that the Rockies would ask for the moon in return for Ubaldo Jimenez. Who knew they’d want a planet, too?
According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Rockies have asked the Yankees for catcher Jesus Montero, RHP Ivan Nova and the team’s top two pitching prospects — Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances — in return for Jimenez.
Jimenez is worthy of a big-time payout — he’d be under control through 2013 at a bargain price — but that’s an extreme return. One could argue that Montero and Banuelos are both better prospects than any of the three the Red Sox gave up for Adrian Gonzalez over the winter.
For trade talks to progress, the Rockies would likely have to drop their request for both Montero and Banuelos. At this point, the Yankees are probably more likely to part with Montero, who would have been the centerpiece of a Cliff Lee deal with Seattle last summer. He’s been a disappointment this year, having hit a modest .288/.347/.413 with seven homers in 281 at-bats for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Still, he has terrific offensive potential and he might flourish following a move to first base. That’s where the Rockies would likely put him, since they have already have an excellent catching prospect in Willin Rosario.
Banuelos, arguably one of the game’s top-five pitching prospects, has amassed a 3.64 ERA and an 86/45 K/BB ratio in 84 innings as a 20-year-old in Double-A.
In the unlikely event that the two sides are able to come to a deal, my guess is that it would involve Montero, Betances and a lesser prospect. The Yankees would likely prefer to trade Nova, who would be less likely to be needed in the short term with Jimenez around, but the Rockies are going to need at least one high-upside arm in return for their ace.