Unlike Hiroki Kuroda (Another starting pitcher that the Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in), Jimenez’s contract could last anywhere from 2012 to 2014. You see, Jimenez has team options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, with one million-dollar buyouts both seasons. His salary for the 2013 season could be increased from $5.75 million-dollars depending on Cy Young results. In 2014, his salary would be eight million-dollars, but unlike the 2013 season, the “Cy Young bonus” could be voided if Jimenez is traded.
It has been reported that there are four main players in the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes. One of those teams, is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are supposedly the furthest along as they have already talked prospects. The Rockies are reportedly interested in starting pitchers Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, and Travis Wood, all have major league experience. Another player the Reds are looking at is twenty-four year old, Yonder Alonso.
With Joey Votto locked up until 2013, the Reds decided to move Alonso to left-field. When the Reds traded Jonny Gomes to the Nationals the other day, they made it clear, at least to me, that Alonso is untouchable. Mild-infielder Billy Hamilton and catcher Devin Mesoraco are also supposedly untouchable.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, Mesoraco is the Reds number one prospect, followed by Alonso and Hamilton. Also, according to Mayo, Mesoraco is the second best catching prospect, Alonso is the third best prospect at first-base, and Hamilton is the second best prospect at second-base. But, with the Reds now 6.5 games behind the Brewers in an already crowed National League Central, this deal might be more focused on the future than the present.
Another team that has interest in Jimenez is the Detroit Tigers. Yet, it doesn’t look like that they are willing to trade starters Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello. The Rockies have inquired about both players. It looks like Detroit is more likely to go after someone like Erik Bedard or Jeremy Guthrie.
The third team looking at Jimenez, is none other than the New York Yankees. The Yankees have the first, fourth, and sixth rated catching prospects in Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine. Therefore, it makes since to trade one of them.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that the Yankees won’t trade Manny Banuelos (the fourth rated left-handed pitching prospect in MLB according to Mayo), Dellin Betances (the eighth rated right-handed pitching prospect in MLB, also according to Mayo), and rookie Ivan Nova, who was recently sent down to AAA, but had an eight and four record in sixteen games started up in the big leagues. Unless the Yankees part with a pitcher, Jimenez won’t be wearing pinstripes.
The last major player for Ubaldo Jimenez are none other than the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately for Boston, it doesn’t look like Clay Buchholz will be back soon. Yet, Boston is more likely to trade for a rental player, as their first four starting pitchers for next year are set (Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey, and Lester) and Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and Tim Wakefield (Unless he retires) will battle for the fifth spot until Dice-K returns. A Major League executive said that the Red Sox are most likely to trade for Kuroda followed by Guthrie and Bedard.
According to ESPN Boston.com, “Boston Red Sox more likely to make small deadline deal than blockbuster.” Shortstop, right field, and a lefty reliever are all desires. A starting pitcher though, is a necessity. Even when Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester come back, either Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, or Kyle Weiland will still be in the rotation. Wakefield has a WHIP of 1.33, Aceves is more valuable in the bullpen, Miller is averaging a walk every 0.71 innings, and Weiland is just a rookie.
Kuroda on the other hand, has a record of 6-11 (which isn’t his fault as the Dodgers have averaged just 2.18 runs per game in his starts), an ERA of 3.13, a WHIP of 1.20, averages a walk every 0.25 innings, and made his professional debut in 1997 as a member of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan’s Central League. Kuroda has been pitching in MLB with the Dodgers since 2008. Kuroda like Jose Reyes and Ryan Ludwick has an expiring contract and is due about $4 million for the rest of the season.
One thing to take into consideration is that Kuroda has a complete no-trade clause in his contract. However, according to reports, Dodger management has contacted Kuroda about waiving his no-trade clause. Yet, Kuroda hasn’t given the Dodgers a list of teams that he’ll accept a trade to and each day it starts to look less and less likely that Kuroda will waive his no-trade clause. One last thing to note on his no-trade clause is, that there is a rumor the Kuroda won’t accept a trade to an east coast team.
Kuroda has mixed postseason numbers. In 2008, he went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings. Yet, in 2009 in a start against the Phillies, he gave up six hits and six earned runs in just 1.1 innings pitched. Despite his horrible start back in 2009, there is no reason that Kuroda shouldn’t be able to pitch in the 2011 postseason like he did in the 2008 one.
With the Dodgers’ current financial state (for starters, Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones are owed a combined $15,033,333 at the season’s start), they might try to trade every player they can in order to dump salary, as owner Frank McCourt has barely met payroll according to reports. Kuroda is the second highest paid player on the Dodgers behind Rafael Furcal, the only players in eight figures.
Depending on the availability of Ubaldo Jimenez, Kuroda is probably the best starting pitcher on the market. Kuroda is also one of the most likely players to be traded to the Red Sox. The Indians, Tigers, and Yankees are also looking at Kuroda just to name a few teams.