You can keep your Ubaldo

You’ve probably heard the rumors about the Yankees inquiring as to the availability of Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

If you haven’t … the Yankees are inquiring as to the availability of Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

There’s no question the Yankees could use another starter — I’m giving up on Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia — but Jimenez isn’t the guy to get. It’s not just because his fastball velocity is receding faster than Mariano Rivera’s hairline (though it is). It’s not just because his wins above replacement (WAR) has steadily declined in each of the past three years (though it has). And it’s not just because he’s pitching to an above 4.00 ERA in the NL (though, again, he is).

It’s because the Yankees would have to mortgage the future to get him The Rockies are reportedly asking for Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Ivan Nova.

Pause.

Pause.

Let that sink in.

If you’re not familiar with the prospects in the Yankees’ system, you are now. THOSE ARE THE PROSPECTS IN THE YANKEES SYSTEM.

Now, I realize you ask for the moon and expect to get something less. That’s how bartering works. But the Yankees can’t afford to give up two young starting pitchers. You buy hitters and you develop pitching.

The Yankees could probably replace Montero in other words. Scouts say he’s not even a catcher anyway. (The only prospect the Rockies didn’t ask for, Austin Romine, can catch.)

But you simply can’t give up both Betances and Banuelos.

Next year, the Yankees have two pitchers definitely under contract — A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes. Remember, CC Sabathia has an opt out clause in his contract and he will probably exercise it. He will also probably return — for more money.

And that’s the point. Jimenez has a reasonable contract for the next two years ($4.2M in 2012, $5.75M in 2013) and a third year that would be voided if he’s traded. But then you remember those negatives at the top of this column. Where do you go in two years?

So you just put yourself in the exact same position down the road. But will you have replaced your prospects? Probably not.

And you don’t want to be the team trying to trade for Manny Banuelos in five years.

Follow Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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