CLEVELAND – Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez is headed to the Indians, but at a steep price.
The Tribe acquired the 27-year-old flamethrower Saturday, agreeing to send top pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, first baseman Matt McBride and pitcher Joe Gardner to Colorado.
Jimenez, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, was the starting pitcher for the National League in the 2010 All-Star Game and possesses one of the most feared fastballs in baseball.
He is 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA this season, striking out 118 batters in 123 innings, after finishing third in last year’s NL Cy Young Award voting.
Jimenez made his scheduled start Saturday for the Rockies in San Diego, but was removed after one inning and promptly began hugging his teammates in the Colorado dugout. He allowed four runs and was the pitcher of record.
The swap was first reported by the Denver Post, including the detail the left-handed Pomeranz can’t officially be dealt until Aug. 16 – one year after signing his first professional contract with Cleveland.
The Rockies signed Jimenez to a four-year, $10 million contract prior to the 2009 season. The Indians inherit option years in 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), though he can void the latter season as a result of the trade.
Jimenez’s career record is 56-45 with 771 strikeouts in 850 innings and a 3.62 ERA. He is a native of the Dominican Republic.
The first indication that a deal was imminent came just as the Indians began their game against Kansas City at Progressive Field.
Tribe management pulled Pomeranz and first baseman Matt McBride from the starting lineup at Double-A Akron, then told White he would not make his scheduled rehab appearance for the Aeros against Erie at Canal Park.
Though the right-handed White made three starts for Cleveland this season, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA, the key to the deal was Pomeranz.
One of the most game’s coveted minor leaguers, Pomeranz was the fifth overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. He is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts with the Aeros, all coming after being promoted from Single-A Kinston, where he went 3-2 with a 1.87 ERA for the little Indians.
Second-year pro Garner, a righty, was 7-8 with a 4.99 ERA in 19 starts for Akron.
McBride, who has spent six seasons in the Tribe’s minor league system, hit .297 with 14 home runs in 84 games for the Aeros.
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