The Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees and a few other teams regarding right-handed ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Sources indicate the Rockies haven't definitely decided to trade the talented starter -- but they do appear to be seriously considering it.
The Yankees are said to match up well as a potential trade partner with the Rockies, who like top hitting prospect Jesus Montero.
The problem is the Rockies are asking for three top Yankees pitching prospects -- Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova -- along with Montero.
The Yankees are willing to trade other pitching prospects, but not those three, so there's still a big gap in the Jimenez talks.
The Rockies are believed to also have spoken to the Red Sox, Tigers, Reds and a few other teams about Jimenez.
The Yankees covet Jimenez, who is by far the best pitcher being mentioned in trades at this point. He has a very team-friendly contract: $2.8 million this year $4.2 million in 2012, with team options of $5.75 million in 2013 and $8 million in 2014 (which he can void if traded).
But Jimenez's performance has been uneven this year. He's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA -- although 5-3 and 2.56 since May -- and his herky-jerky delivery gives clubs pause regarding a long-term deal.
Colorado looks like a borderline contender at best in the National League West, but the team's history of strong second-half finishes has made ownership cautious about moving the 27-year-old Jimenez.
Several American League teams are seeking starting pitching, including the Rangers and Indians. Sources say those two teams plus the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers are interested in Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
But the Yankees seem most focused on Jimenez, and they have had multiple talks with the Rockies. They do not appear as interested in Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, in part because of the $34 million, three-year deal he signed last winter. Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane reportedly wants to trim player payroll to around $60 million, so they're dangling Rodriguez.
The Yankees received very good first halves from veterans Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia but both began the second half with rough outings at Toronto, reviving some concern about their starting pitching, which is unimposing after superstar C.C. Sabathia.
The Yankees, Rangers and Reds are considered well-stocked with top-tier young talent to acquire a big-time player at the deadline, while the Tigers, Indians and Red Sox also probably have enough to get a deal done but may not match up as well with the Rockies. Foxsports.com first reported the Reds were talking to the Rockies about Jimenez.
The New York Post reported that Jimenez is unhappy and pouting over the long-term contracts given this winter to teammates Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and Jimenez both denied that's the case -- but Colorado is talking to other teams about the right-hander.