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Tribe acquires Ubaldo Jimenez from Rockies

July 30, 2011
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The Cleveland Indians have acquired right-handed starter Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies, pending a physical. To get Jimenez, the Indians will be sending prized prospects Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and Joe Gardner, as well as Double A first baseman/catcher, Matt McBride.

White and Pomeranz were scratched from their Saturday Night appearances. While it was reported that Jimenez was also scratched, he did ultimately pitche the first inning in Colorado, striking out two batters, while giving up four runs and four walks. As he walked into the dugout, Rockies manager Jim Tracy was seen talking to the 6'4" pitcher, and it was immediately followed by a hug-fest in the Rockies dugout. He didn't return to the mound in the second.

Jimenez, 27, is 55-44 in his career, with a lifetime 3.60 ERA, all for the Rockies. He became a household name on April 17, 2010, when he pitched the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history, against the Atlanta Braves. He won 11 of his first 12 games last season, and was the third pitcher in history to do it with an ERA below 1.00. He was selected to start the 2010 All-Star game with a 15-1 record and a 2.20 ERA. Jimenez would finish the season 19-8, with a 2.88 ERA, finishing third in the Cy Young voting.

Jimenez is currently in the third year of a four-year contract that he signed prior to the 2009 season.  He's set to make $4.2 million in 2012, and has two club options in 2013 for $5.75 million and 2014 for $8 million. Both option years have $500,000 bonuses should he finish 2nd or 3rd in the Cy Young voting, and a $1,000,000 bonus should he win it. He can also receive $50,000 dollar bumps for pitching 200, 210, 220, 230 and 240 innings. Since he was traded, Jimenez can void the 2014 option.

Pomeranz was the Tribe's 2011 first round pick, and has been absolutely electric in his first season with the club.  In 15 starts with Kinston, Pomeranz was 3-2 with a league leading 1.87 ERA. In 77 innings, he gave up only 56 hits, 16 earned runs and 32 walks, while striking out 95. He was recently promoted to Kinston, and in three starts, was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA. In 14 innings, he gave up ten hits, four runs and six walks, while striking out 17.

White was the Indians' 2010 first rounder, and dominated from the start. He started in Kinston last season, and in eight starts, was 2-3 with a 2.86 ERA. He pitched 44 innings, giving up 32 hits and 14 earned runs, while walking 19, and striking out 41. He improved on those numbers after getting called up to Kinston in late may. He went 8-7, with a 2.28 ERA in 106 2/3 innings. He gave up 91 hits, 27 earned runs and 27 walks, while striking out 76 batters.

In 2011, he was promoted to Columbus. He would only make four starts, but was even more impressive than he was in 2010. In 23 2/3 innings, he gave up 19 hits, five earned runs and five walks, while striking out 28 batters.

White was then called up to bigs on April 30th to take Carlos Carrasco's spot in the rotation after he was placed on the DL. White would go on to make three starts, going 1-0 in the process. He gave up 14 hits, six earned runs and nine walks in 15 innings, while striking out 13. White was pulled after three innings during his last start with a finger ligament strain, and ultimately placed on the 60-day DL. The plan was to bring the big righty back in August in a relief role.

Joe Gardner was this site's pitcher of the year in 2010, and was the third round selection for the Indians in 2009. Overall, Gardner went 13-6 with a 2.75 ERA in 28 starts. He pitched 147 1/3 innings, giving up 102 hits and 62 walks, while striking out an impressive 142 batters. His win total and strikeouts were the best in the organization. His 2011 season hasn't been impressive at all, going 7-8 with a 4.99 ERA in 19 starts. He pitched in 97 1/3 inning, giving up 108 hits and 47 walks, while striking out 60. He was shut down for a bit earlier in the year with dead arm, and you have to wonder if the near150 innings pitched burned this season out.

Matt McBride was the Tribes 2nd rounder in 2006. He wasn't projecting as anything more than a fringe player in the organization, but was having a tremendous season in Akron this year, hitting .297, with 14 homers and 53 RBI. Overall, McBride has hit .282 in his career, with 69 homers and 349 RBI.

In all, the Rockies get the 3rd, 4th and 10th rated prospects in the system, which come in the form of two former first rounders, a former second rounder, and a former third rounder. The Indians bring in the Rockies current Ace to anchor their staff.

While I'm dying to throw out my opinion, I'll save it for another piece tomorrow, after I digest all of this in and perhaps gain some new perspective. Tony will also be adding his news and notes as they become available, so keep tuning in to IPI for all the latest...

More on this deal as it comes together.

Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his latest book the 2011 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is available for purchase for $20.95 to customers in the US (shipping and handling extra).

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