Tag:Ubaldo Jimenez
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 11:27 am
 

3 to Watch: The trade deadline edition

The starting pitching market is weak, so when news spread that Erik Bedard would come off the disabled list to start for the Mariners Friday night, scouts around baseball started calling their travel agents.

The Yankees and Red Sox are both expected to have scouts at Safeco Field to see Bedard. The Tigers will be there, too.

Scouts who saw Bedard before he got hurt reported that he looked close to his old self. He's been a successful pitcher when healthy, winning 15 games for the Orioles in 2006 and compiling a 3.64 ERA in 159 career games.

And he hasn't started more than 15 games in a season since 2007 (although Friday's start will be his 16th for the Mariners this year).

The good news on Bedard is that he was on the DL because of a knee problem, rather than an arm problem. Then again, Jarrod Washburn only had a leg problem when the Tigers acquired him from the Mariners in 2009, and he was a disaster in Detroit.

The Washburn experience makes the Tigers hesitant on Bedard, but with their desperation to find a starter and with the weak market, they'll have a scout there, anyway.

It should be quite a weekend around the big leagues, with the non-waiver trade deadline arriving at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Tigers will also have a scout watching Orioles at Yankees, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium, with Jeremy Guthrie starting for the O's. Guthrie has long been on the Tigers' list of possible targets, but he has rarely pitched well with Tiger scouts in the house. The Orioles have also been asking a high price for Guthrie, but again, on this market, anything's possible. A.J. Burnett starts for the Yankees, who have also been out shopping for starting pitchers. The Yankees keep hoping that Burnett will look like a true No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia, but they also keep watching Ubaldo Jimenez, who may be better.

2. Bedard is the main attraction in Rays at Mariners, Friday night (10:10 ET) at Safeco Field, but it's worth noting that Jeff Niemann starts for the Rays. The Rays have told teams that they won't move James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson or David Price, but Niemann and Wade Davis are much more available. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rays offered Niemann to the Cardinals as part of a package for Colby Rasmus. The Tigers were offered Niemann, as well. They turned him down once, but they'll get another look when he faces Bedard.

3. Jimenez has always been the biggest name on this market. The Rockies claim that they will keep him if they don't get a great offer, but they would claim that no matter what, right? We'll see by Sunday, or maybe even by the time Jimenez is scheduled to start in Rockies at Padres, Saturday night (8:35 ET) at Petco Park. Aaron Harang, the scheduled starter for San Diego, is also available, and has been a possibility for the Tigers, Indians and others.



Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Tigers try again for Jimenez

With their once-lengthy list of starting pitching targets shrinking, the Tigers are making another longshot run at top choice Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Tigers were considered to be basically out of the Ubaldo derby, because the Rockies valued other teams' prospects more highly.

But the Tigers are increasingly desperate to improve their rotation, fueling one more run at Jimenez, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday morning.

It still seems unlikely that the Tigers could actually get Jimenez. According to one source with knowledge of the talks, a Tiger package would need to start with Jacob Turner and/or Rick Porcello. Turner is the Tigers' top prospect, and has been declared near-untouchable in trade talks. Porcello is their 22-year-old third starter, and while Jimenez would be an upgrade, the Tigers would still have a hole in their rotation.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has been willing to move "untouchable" prospects in the past, if he likes the return enough. Both Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller were considered untouchable when Dombrowski put them together in a package for Miguel Cabrera at the winter meetings in 2007.

And the Tigers really are desperate for a pitcher. So far this season, they have a 41-23 record when they start Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer or Porcello, a 10-11 record with fourth starter Brad Penny, and a 4-16 record with any of the various pitchers they have used as fifth starters.

The Yankees and Red Sox are better positioned than the Tigers to get Jimenez, because of the value the Rockies put on their prospects. But it's possible that neither of the two American League East powers would budge on the players the Rockies covet, and perhaps that could put the Tigers in position to land Jimenez.

The Rockies continue to say that they won't trade Jimenez at all if they don't get the package they're looking for. The Indians, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays have all been involved in Jimenez talks.

The Tigers remain interested in Hiroki Kuroda, and to some extent in Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang. There was talk in baseball that they might go after Jason Marquis of the Nationals (one source suggested that the Nats like young Tiger reliever Ryan Perry), but that seems to be a lesser possibility at this point.

The Tigers also plan to have a scout watching Erik Bedard when he comes off the disabled list to start for the Mariners Friday night, but a move for Bedard is also considered unlikely.

The Tigers' renewed interest in Jimenez was first reported by Foxsports.com.



Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:43 pm
 

In weak pitching market, Kuroda is a star


The fact that Hiroki Kuroda has emerged as one of the biggest names on the starting pitching market tells you all you need to know about that market.

Kuroda is 37 years old. He's a free agent at the end of the year, with very little chance of re-signing with any team he is traded to. He has won just six of his 21 starts this year (and none of his last four). The Dodgers won't just give him away; in fact, they're targeting top prospects for him.

Oh, and he has a full no-trade clause, and there's much doubt (and some debate) about where he'd be willing to go -- if anywhere.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," Kuroda told reporters after his start Wednesday night.

Sounds like a perfect guy to go get.

But in a marketplace where the Rockies are holding out for a huge return on Ubaldo Jimenez, where the Rays insist to teams that they won't trade James Shields, where the Mariners won't discuss Felix Hernandez and probably won't even trade Doug Fister ("Zero chance they move him," said one official from an interested team), Kuroda has started to look good.

The Tigers seem to have him at the top of their shrinking wish list, which began with dozens of names and now may be down to Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang.

The Yankees, not thrilled about the price on Jimenez, remain involved on Kuroda.

Same goes for the Red Sox, who are telling teams they are focused on getting a right-handed hitting outfielder, but remain active with both Jimenez and Kuroda.

According to sources, the Dodgers continue to believe that Kuroda will eventually agree to go somewhere, with New York and Boston thought to be his top two picks.

"You'd think he'd be glad to go somewhere where they might score him a run," said one interested scout, noting that the Dodgers have scored just 15 runs in his last nine losses.

The Dodgers remain interested enough in the Tigers that they sent a scout to Grand Rapids, Mich., to see 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos. Castellanos is one of the Tigers' top prospects, and many in the organization doubt that they would move him for Kuroda.

The Tigers don't seem terribly interested in Erik Bedard, the Mariners pitcher who will come off the disabled list to start against the Rays Friday night. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have some interest in Bedard, although obviously that depends on how healthy he looks Friday.


Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Yankees have best shot at Ubaldo

Of all the teams that showed interest in Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez -- and there were a lot -- the Yankees have the best chance of actually landing him, according to major-league sources.

The Rockies are still telling teams that they don't need to trade Jimenez, who is 27 years old and is signed to a team-friendly contract that could run through 2014. But it's clearer than ever that the Rockies are willing to make a deal, with the Reds, possibly the Red Sox and even the Indians as other teams that match up well enough to get a deal done.

The Rangers showed signficant interest in Jimenez early on, but sources said Wednesday that they were all but out now, in large part because the teams just don't match up on the value placed on prospects. Another impediment to a Rockies-Rangers deal is the lingering frustration over last year's failed talks for Michael Young, but it appears the bigger problem was a lack of a match on prospects.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said earlier this month that he would require "a Herschel Walker-type deal" to trade Jimenez, but it appears that O'Dowd would be willing to accept something less than that, perhaps along the lines of deals that were made in recent months for Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Cliff Lee.

The Yankees have basically declared top prospect Manuel Banuelos off-limits in talks, but they have enough depth that they could put together an attractive package without him. O'Dowd is said to want three or four players in return for Jimenez, and it's thought that some combination of Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes could convince the Rockies to make a deal.

The Reds also have enough prospects to make a trade work, but they have indicated a strong reluctance to deal catcher Devin Mesoraco, the prospect who most interests the Rockies.

Talks with the Red Sox apparently haven't advanced as far, but it's believed that they would need to build a package around pitcher Kyle Weiland.

The Indians are also in on Jimenez, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com. But a source familiar with the talks described them as a longshot at best.

Other teams that showed early interest in Jimenez include the Tigers and Blue Jays, but the chances of a deal with either of those teams appear far more remote at this point.

The Yankees' pieced-together starting rotation has performed well, but they still don't have a clear No. 2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees have looked at many available starting pitchers, including Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers and Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, but Jimenez is the one guy who could slot in behind Sabathia in their rotation and make them more dangerous in October.


Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Red Sox in on Ubaldo, but watch for Texas

The Rockies still aren't sure they'll trade Ubaldo Jimenez. They're still asking a ton for Ubaldo Jimenez.

But they sure haven't scared teams away.

The Red Sox are the latest team to inquire, sources said Tuesday. It's not yet clear how serious that interest is, or how strong a match there would be. The Red Sox have also continued to monitor the Carlos Beltran market.

While the Yankees' interest in Jimenez has been widely reported, some people familiar with the Rockies plans believe that the Reds or the Rangers would have a better chance of landing the ace right-hander. Both Cincinnati and Texas are said to have enough young talent to motivate the Rockies to make a deal.

The Tigers have also been in touch on Jimenez, but it appears they don't have enough available talent to get him. The Tigers continue to prioritize starting pitching; they've asked about almost every starter on the market.

Jimenez is scheduled to make his next start for Colorado on Tuesday night. Some teams are still trying to convince themselves that he is totally healthy.


For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Reds look at Figgins, Crisp, Wandy, Ubaldo

The Reds, four games behind in the crowded National League Central, continue to push to upgrade their starting pitching.

But that's not all.

Even as they've strongly pursued Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez and have looked into Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, the Reds have expanded their search for a new leadoff hitter, as well.

The two names that currently interest them, according to sources: Seattle's Chone Figgins and Oakland's Coco Crisp.

Figgins has been a serious underachiever in his two years with the Mariners, and Seattle still owes him more than $20 million on a contract that is guaranteed through 2013. But the Mariners would likely eat much of that money in order to part with Figgins, and some people believe that he'll be a better player once he returns to the leadoff role he filled with the Angels.

Crisp has just a .312 on-base percentage in his second year with the A's, but he also has 27 stolen bases. Crisp is on the final year of his contract, and will be a free-agent at the end of 2011.

As for Jimenez, sources categorized the Reds' interest as "strong." Cincinnati could put together an attractive package, most likely built around Yonder Alonso, the first baseman whose path to the big leagues is blocked by Joey Votto's presence. The Rockies would like to find a first baseman to eventually replace Todd Helton.

It's not yet as clear how interested the Reds are in Rodriguez, whose contract is somewhat prohibitive. The Astros have told teams that they'll listen on any of their players, but an official of another team that talked to Houston said there was a fear that general manager Ed Wade is trying to make a "job-saving deal." Most people in baseball believe that Wade won't survive, once new owner Jim Crane takes over from Drayton McLane.


For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 6:11 am
 

3 to Watch: The streaking Rangers edition

Since 1996, the Yankees have five World Series titles and no 11-game winning streaks.

The Rangers just won 11 in a row for the second straight year.

Since 2003, four teams have had a 12-game winning streak. Three of those four didn't make the playoffs, and the fourth didn't make the World Series.

Winning streaks make you look like you're the best team in baseball. All too often, the long season proves that you're not.

Winning streaks feel like they ought to be important. History shows that all too often, they're not.

So what does all this mean for the Rangers, who have swept the Orioles, A's and Mariners for their 11 straight wins?

Nothing, except that Texas has once again taken command of the American League West race, and has a chance to open up an even bigger gap with three games against the Angels this week in Anaheim.

With the Mariners' collapse -- they've lost nine straight, scoring just 11 runs total -- and with the A's continuing struggles, the Angels are the lone remaining challenger to Texas. And even the Angels have now fallen four games behind.

The Angels are supposed to be the Rangers' opposites. The Rangers are third in the league in runs, while the Angels are fourth from the bottom. The Angels are second in the league in pitching, while the Rangers are . . . moving up.

In fact, if there's anything to take from the 11 straight games they've won, it's that the Rangers' pitching has been outstanding. The team ERA through the 11-game streak is an impressive 2.09 (although maybe the three weak opponents had something to do with that).

Last year, the Rangers' 11-game winning streak came in June, and it was quickly followed by the Cliff Lee trade that turned Texas into a World Series team for the first time. It's hard to know whether this streak will be followed by any kind of impact trade -- or if the Rangers even need that kind of impact deal this year.

All we really know is this: If the Rangers win Tuesday, they'll be the first team since the 2006 Red Sox to win 12 in a row. If they win Tuesday and Wednesday, they'll be the first team since the 2002 A's to win more than 12 in a row (the A's won 20).

And whether the streak ends at 11, 12 or more, we also know that history tells us it's not as important as it seems.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. There's still no game-changer like Lee on the July trade market, but the market did get a lot more interesting with the news that the Rockies would listen on Ubaldo Jimenez. The asking price is admittedly huge -- according to the reliable Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Rockies wanted Manuel Banuelos, Delin Betances, Ivan Nova and Jesus Montero from the Yankees -- but at least there is an asking price. Most likely, Jimenez will make his next scheduled start, in Braves at Rockies, Tuesday night (8:40 ET) at Coors Field, but you never know. It's a safer bet that scouts will congregate in Denver, where Derek Lowe is scheduled to start for the Braves a night before Jimenez is scheduled for the Rockies.

2. Rangers manager Ron Washington chose Jered Weaver to start the All-Star Game, but he also agreed to Angels manager Mike Scioscia's request that Weaver pitch only one inning. That enabled Weaver to start Saturday in Oakland (where he won for the 12th time this year), and it also set up Weaver to start against fellow All-Star C.J. Wilson in Rangers at Angels, Thursday afternoon (3:35 ET) at Angel Stadium.

3. I'm still not sure who baseball's best pitcher is -- Verlander? Halladay? Felix? I do know that CC Sabathia is baseball's winningest pitcher (he's 14-4, with wins in each of his last seven starts), and that he's also baseball's hottest pitcher (5-0, 0.45 in his last five starts, with nine walks and 50 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings, with a .449 OPS against). I also know that Sabathia has an All-Star matchup coming up, in Yankees at Rays, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Tropicana Field. And I know that this is the last game of what the Rays saw as a critical 10-game stretch against the Yankees and Red Sox. By Thursday, the Rays figure to have a better idea of whether a run at the playoffs is realistic.


Posted on: May 5, 2011 7:43 pm
 

3 to watch: The play the percentages edition

You might think this is the worst time to face Andre Ethier.

R.A. Dickey thinks it's the best time.

"The percentages are in your favor the more games his streak goes on," the Mets knuckleballer said. "I'd rather he had a 50-game streak. You think, this is going to end sometime."

It's hard to know whether it will end this weekend, and not just because an inflamed elbow kept Ethier out of the Dodgers' Wednesday game against the Cubs, and has his status in some doubt for this weekend's series against the Mets.

What we do know is that Ethier has a .147 career average against the Mets, easily his lowest against any National League opponent.

We also know that Ethier's hitting streak is at 29 games, which gives the next couple of games extra significance. The longest hitting streak in Dodger history is 31, by Willie Davis in 1969.

Davis' 30th and 31st games came against . . . the Mets. His streak ended in the next series, in San Diego against the Padres.

If Ethier gets a hit Friday, he could tie Davis with another hit on Saturday night. While Ethier has bad career numbers against the Mets, he has great numbers (12-for-29, with six home runs) against Chris Young, the Mets' Saturday night starter.

"I'll just pencil him in for a hit," Young said with a smile.

Young said he met Ethier last year in the Dodger Stadium weight room, when Young was with the Padres.

"He came up and asked how I was doing," said Young, who was coming back from an injury. "He's first and foremost a nice guy, a great player, who has a ton of success off me.

"I had to apologize to him, because by getting hurt I cost him some hits."

If Ethier can carry his streak until Sunday, he'll face Dickey.

By then, the percentages may be in his favor.

On to 3 to watch:

1. The Giants and Rockies have played some fascinating games the last couple of years. And any matchup of Matt Cain and Ubaldo Jimenez is interesting, even if Cain gave up six runs the last time he faced Colorado and Jimenez has a 7.20 ERA. It'll be Cain and Jimenez, in Rockies at Giants, Friday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park.

2. Young can joke about his lack of success against Ethier, but his first four starts for the Mets have been no joke. He's just 1-0 (losing two potential wins to blown saves), but he has a 1.88 ERA and has allowed just 12 hits in 24 innings (with a .146 opponents batting average). Young faces Jon Garland in Dodgers at Mets, Saturday night (7:10 ET) at Citi Field.

3. Rangers fans probably don't need many reminders that their team went to the World Series last year, for the first time in its history. But having the Yankees in town for the first time since the American League Championship Series can't hurt. This hasn't been the best of times for either team, as both the Rangers and Yankees had their first three-game losing streak of the season. It's still a big-time series, and maybe the most interesting pitching matchup of the series will be CC Sabathia against Alexi Ogando, in Yankees at Rangers, Sunday afternoon (2:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com