The day after Ubaldo: strange reports abound

Well color me skeptical about the latter reports. For one thing, it just makes no sense. A team refusing to make a deal contingent on a physical might as well just stab their player’s right arm with a giant red flag, and wouldn’t even seem to serve a purpose from a negotiating standpoint, since it hardly seems that you could get more value out of a trade by consenting to allowing a physical first. But even more strange than that is the fact that the deal Colorado ultimately made with Cleveland is contingent on a physical! So even if the Rockies were refusing the request days ago, they ultimately relented on it. At the least, if the Yankees really bowed out completely over the matter, it seems like a clear failure of due diligence on the part of Brian Cashman.

And then there’s the conflicting reports about the talks themselves. Jon Heyman is now reporting that the Rockies asked for Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes (though he doesn’t say when this request was made, so there’s no telling how serious it was). That is quite the haul, and it’s a good bit more than the deal they ultimately took, even with Hughes’ troubles factored in. According to Sherman the Yankees say they never made a proposal, though Colorado sources say that the Yankees made an offer around…Phil Hughes.

On the one hand, I’m inclined to disbelieve this too. After all, a Hughes-centric deal would make no sense whatsoever for the Rockies. Aside from the fact that he’s struggled this year, he’s already in to arbitration, and compared to Ubaldo’s current contract he’s neither significantly cheaper nor under team control much longer than Ubaldo. So why would Colorado even entertain this deal? On the other hand, the notion that the Yankees tried to present Ubaldo as “troubled” like Hughes is consistent with what we’ve heard about the Yankees concern about Ubaldo since the rumors first broke.

Ultimately we’re never going to know exactly what happened, but the more information that comes out, the more it sounds like the Yankees just didn’t really want to make a deal with Colorado. The claim in Sherman’s report that the Yankees viewed Ubaldo as “more of a number 3″ starter is just farcical, and sounds like someone rationalizing a controversial decision to me. Ubaldo would be the 2nd best starter on the Yankees’ current roster, and is probably better than anyone else the Yankees will have a chance to acquire over the next couple of seasons.

At least team sources are still throwing around the line that you just can’t trust a potential acquisition who never pitched in the American League East before (as opposed to the ones who did). That gives me some hope we won’t all be complaining about C.J. Wilson‘s contract come 2013. Not much, but some. And since Jesus Montero is just too good to trade for a big upgrade to the starting rotation, I assume I can expect to see him replacing the offensive black hole Russell Martin has become any day now, right?

I will say one thing that might ruffle some feathers though; if the Yankees are truly this serious about pinning their hopes on Betances and Banuelos, they’d probably better thank Brian Cashman for his service at the end of 2011 and go looking for a GM with a better track record of successfully developing young pitchers.

15 thoughts on “The day after Ubaldo: strange reports abound

  1. http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/31/why-

    Brien, it wasn't that the Rockies refused to make the trade contingent on a physical, it was that the Yankees wanted to do the physical before they had even agreed on the package. In such a circumstance, the Yankees could've used the physical as leverage, potentially driving away other suitors and altering their own package.

    • BrienJackson

      I checked that one out, and it seems that HBT misread the report (to be fair, I think the Post might have cleaned up Sherman's language a bit, because it seems different than what I first read earlier). But based on Sherman and Carigs' stories, it sounds like the physical would have been after an agreement.

  2. Well, if that's the case, both Sherman and Carig have revised their reporting since last night. Again, just more strangeness. In the end, I can't imagine a routine, post-agreement physical would be denied to one team and then offered the team with a lesser package of prospects. That doesn't compute. I think the Yankees wanted to get their doctors to see him early in the week and the Rockies balked…for whatever reason. Unless Ubaldo fails the Indians physical today, we'll probably never get the full story.

  3. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding why the Yankees and Colorado didn't get the trade done, I'm perfectly ok with it. Looking through the past 10 years or so with the Yankees, the "big name" trades never seem to pan out, especially when they occur near the trading deadline. It is always the little trades to fill the team out that seem to give us the biggest benefit. Yes Jiminez could have broken the mold, but I'm not to upset about it

    • BrienJackson

      Conversely, the Yankees don't have a great track record developing their own pitchers either.

      • chad

        are they really any worse than the average MLB team? they've never really developed a true ace, but plenty of good arms have come through over the past several years. Outside of a few standout teams (oakland, san francisco, tampa), I don't see them being much different than most teams on that front.

    • Matt

      It seems like a week or so ago you were arguing that the Yanks SHOULD be willing to give up Montero, Banuelos, Betances, and Nova for Jimenez.

      Am I Mis-remembering? Because it does seem like, in the end, that's what the Yanks were looking at, even if you replace one of Banuelos/Betances with Phil Hughes. It's an enormous package. One that it doesn't seem like Cashman really ever thought was that serious, but a package that YOU argued the Yanks should take seriously.

  4. David

    What I'm really curious about is if the Yankees stayed in this to drive up the price to rid the primary competitors of their farm systems because Cashman thinks (or highly suspects) he can make a Felix deal at the Winter Meetings this year due to the contract bump (10mm/year -> 18.5mm/year+) he'll be getting in 2012 onwards. I know this is tinfoil-hat department, but I just feel like there's something we're missing in all of this.

  5. 27up-27down

    YES pregame reporting that Yankees wanted MRI of Ubaldo's shoulder before deal was in place.

  6. fubar

    I think Cashman has become even more of a prospect-hugger than most blog commentators.

  7. Jacques

    Michael Kay mentioned an interesting article about Jimenez written by Tom Verducci. It regards pitching in Coors Field and how the altitude affects the arm…
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tom

  8. Kurt

    I find it very strange that any team would trade its ace, especially one with such a low contract relative to his ability. I've got to believe that Colorado knew or suspected something is wrong with Ubaldo's arm.

    • BrienJackson

      Perhaps. On the other hand it's hardly as though Major League Baseball teams never do goofy things.

  9. stig

    people need to stop weeping over not getting Ubaldo already, dude's a B- pitcher against the worst offenses in the whole game

    • DustyYF

      That's more than a bit hyperbolic. I don't think he's the ace many believe him to be, but he'd be a good #2 or 3 starter on a strong team. I wasn't for trading for him because for two reasons:

      1) The staff is very strong as it is. CC, Colon, and Garcia have been fantastic. Nova has outperformed his expectations while showing signs of improvement throughout the season. Burnett is Burnett. He seems worse than he actually is, though. He's pretty average, overall (especially when you think of him as a #4 starter). Hughes is an enigma, but the presence of Nova softens his disappointing season.

      2) Given the previous point, I was against giving away front line talent for a starter. I'm still a believer in Montero, who I think should have already been called up. I'm definitely against trading frontline talent for a guy like Jimenez. Yes, I said he's a good pitcher now, but I really question how long he'll last. Both his proclivity for free passes and his declining fastball are enough of a warning sign to say he's no sure thing.

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