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Sunday Rockpile: Details of Jimenez trade negotiations with Cleveland emerge, Rockies follow familiar NL West pattern

Terry Pluto from the Cleveland Plain Dealer breaks down the back and forth between the Rockies and Indians that led to the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Yes, the Rockies really wanted Jason Kipnis, asking for him, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White at first, and apparently close to the deadline would have traded Jimenez if just Pomeranz and the young second baseman were included in the return. When Cleveland refused to part with Kipnis, the Rockies insisted on White plus a package that turned out to be Joseph Gardner plus Matt McBride.

A couple of previously just rumored parts of the story get some confirmation with this, one is that the Rockies did in fact lower their asking price on Jimenez with at least the Indians in the weekend before the deadline. Those against the Jimenez trade will take this and run with it, I'm sure, as there's a significant difference between the talent level of Kipnis and that of Gardner plus McBride. 

Another interesting aspect of Pluto's piece revolves around how the finger injuries of former Indians prospect and current Red Sox pitcher Adam Miller as well as the one suffered by Jorge De La Rosa earlier this season devalued White (who's recovering from a finger injury himself) a bit with both organizations.

Finally, there is the issue of the so-called contention window for both teams. With the Jimenez trade, Cleveland is clearly building around a group of 2013 free agent eligible players that includes Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin Soo Choo, and now Jimenez, and then will presumably rebuild a new core around Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and whatever's left after that exodus. Meanwhile, while some would argue that the Rockies are clearly in rebuilding mode now, I'd argue that it's a bit more complicated then that in the NL West. 

Obviously 2011's out the window for the Rockies contending, and depending on how White and Pomeranz develop, 2012 may be as well, but not so fast on that. As the 2007 and 2009 Rockies, the 2010 Padres, and the 2011 Diamondbacks show, the smaller and middle market teams in this division have been consistently making very quick turnarounds when they deal for near MLB ready upside pitching depth. Troy Renck's column today features the bounce-back made by Arizona.

The Diamondbacks are doing it thanks to a series of trades of their top young pitching talent, starting with moving Max Scherzer and Dan Schlereth to Detroit for Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy prior to 2010 (3.2 f-WAR,) and then later flipping Jackson to the White Sox for Daniel Hudson (4.3 f-WAR.) They also traded away ace Dan Haren to supply even more pitching depth. They had that one year of misery in 2010, and now they're back.The Padres did the same thing a year before after dealing Jake Peavy to the White Sox. The Rockies in 2007 had just traded their top starter from the year prior in Jason Jennings. The team in 2009 didn't trade away their ace, but by acquiring De La Rosa and Jason Hammel, did make the same type of quality additions to their ready rotation depth as the other examples.

The general rule these NL West teams have been following is to trade away pitching talent during or after lost seasons to the AL Central or East for spare starters that are under-appreciated, and the very next season, presto, you're a contender. We'll see if this pattern holds for the Rockies in 2012.

J.C. Romero: possibly a new member of the bullpen. At the beginning of 2010, Romero served one of the more unfortunate 50 game suspensions for banned substances, where the player tried to follow the rules, but got caught by the shifting list of what's allowed and what's not. At any rate, in Rafael Betancourt, the Rockies already have had some success with bullpen pitchers who've tested positive in the past.

Also in the above link is the note that Juan Nicasio may visit Coors Field and his teammates Monday and one that Chris Nelson will continue to get a long look at third base. Nelson sparkled on defense last night, but he needs to start showing more offensively by the end of the season if he wants to stake a claim for a starting job in 2012.

Jhoulys Chacin's rise from Casper to the current de facto ace of the Rockies is highlighted by Casper Star-Tribune writer Eric Schmoldt.