Tuesday Rockpile: Ubaldo Jimenez for a long-term contract?

Last year at this time, the Rockies had just or were about to hand out long-term contracts to Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe, and Manny Corpas. Might we see another long-term contract signed by a Rockie soon? It appears as if Dan O'Dowd is talking money and years with Ubaldo Jimenez and his agent, Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders report, but possibly only for another few weeks, before spring training begins.

Jimenez will make the near minimum this year and next, and he will be eligible for arbitration from 2011-2013. Unless they agree to a six-year contract, this doesn't buy out any years of free agency for Jimenez. Both sides have leverage here in not agreeing to a contract. For the Rockies, Jimenez will come cheap for at least another season and, unless he turns into the greatest pitcher of all time, his arbitration salaries won't skyrocket. Of course, that'll be read by some as the Monforts being cheap. If Jimenez and his agent back away, Jimenez gives up security now, but if his career is onward and upward he's setting himself up for more money in future negotiations--and won't get it, because some will scream the Monforts are cheap. Then he gets tra--wait, wait, this seems all too familiar.

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Jeff Francis isn't optimistic about being ready for the start of the season:

"Whether I'll be pitching at the start of the season for the Rockies, I don't think that's looking very good. It's a day-to-day thing. Some days it feels really good and a lot better than others. I think putting a timetable on it is jumping the gun."

Bob Apodaca seems a bit more optimistic in the article, but I'd like to know what he defines as level-two pain on a scale of 1-to-10.

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Several of the prospects in Denver for the Winter Development Program last week are quoted in this Colorado Springs Gazette article, and Garrett Atkins' arbitration hearing is set but being kept secret.

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