|A look at the Red Sox’ pursuit of Ubaldo Jimenez, Erik Bedard, others||08.03.11 at 8:20 pm ET|
Ubaldo Jimenez sat in the Fenway Park interview room Wednesday afternoon, answering questions about joining his new team. He talked about how much he had grown since last pitching in Boston — a Game 2 start in the 2007 World Series with the Rockies in which he allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings.
It was a scenario some had predicted as the non-waiver trade deadline approached last week. And it all came true, except for one small alteration — Jimenez was wearing a Cleveland Indians hat.
“If I tell you no, I’m probably going to be a liar because as a human being, you’re going to get all kind of thoughts in your mind,” said Jimenez when asked if he was paying attention to where he might be headed prior to the deadline. “I heard so many rumors, of course I thought about it. I put myself in different situations with different teams.”
And as the final few days until the deadline whittled away, the Red Sox were one of the teams making a fairly significant push to put Jimenez in their organization.
According to a major league source, the Red Sox made a substantial offer to Colorado for Jimenez Friday, with the Rockies responding with a counter-offer later that day. The issue, however, was that Colorado was looking for near-major league-ready players — looking for some of the Sox top young position players — the kind of which the Sox were not in a spot to offer up in such a deal.
In fact, it was believed on the Red Sox side of things that they would most likely end up having to allocate even a steeper price of prospects in any deal for Jimenez than what Cleveland ended up trading because of there would be less of a presence of near-big league-ready chips.
The Indians would ultimately deal highly-thought of pitching prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz (both of whom could be in the Rockies’ rotation in 2012), outfielder Matt McBride (15 homers in Triple-A this season), along with another minor-league hurler, Joseph Gardner.
With it clear by Saturday that Colorado and the Red Sox weren’t going to match up for Jimenez, the Sox focused their attention on Hiroki Kuroda. But when the Dodgers’ pitcher decided he wasn’t going to waive his no-trade clause in any trade (another major league source said no deal had been presented to Kuroda prior to his decision), the Sox set their sights on Oakland’s Rich Harden. That deal — which included Lars Anderson and a player to be named later going to the A’s — fell apart due to concerns over the hurler’s medical reports.
What should be noted is that throughout all the negotiations involving deals for Jimenez, Kuroda and Harden, the Red Sox never stopped their pursuit of Erik Bedard, whose value — in the eyes of the Red Sox — hadn’t been affected by his 1 1/3, five-run outing Friday night. As far as the Sox were concerned, he had shown he was healthy and his stuff was good.
The Red Sox viewed any Bedard deal as separate from anything they might do in regards to the other pitchers they were pursuing. It was thought that, if things broke the Sox’ way, they could very well end up with two pitchers who had the potential to be valued starters in the postseason.
The Red Sox also explored the idea of acquiring the kind of bullpen help Texas ultimately secured in the form of Koji Uehara and Mike Adams, thereby perhaps piecing together some starts through a powerful bullpen. But the cost (prospect-wise) proved too rich to make such moves. It was an obstacle that also stood in the way of obtaining a right-handed outfield bat, of which there were few legitimate candidates, especially after Carlos Beltran had been dealt to San Francisco. But for various reasons, players such as Ryan Ludwick (not willing to meet San Diego’s asking price) and Reed Johnson (back issues) just weren’t deemed worth it.
After it was all said and done, it left the Red Sox with what they had prioritized all along, a pitcher who could potentially start a playoff game … with Jimenez proudly wearing an Indians hat.
“I just want to play baseball. It doesn’t matter what team. Where I am right now, I’m really happy,” Jimenez said. “I have a great opportunity I’m happy for it. I don’t think about anything else.”
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