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Yankees Trade Rumors: Ubaldo Jimenez? Highly Unlikely

As the trade market shakes out over the next couple of weeks, will the New York Yankees be in the market for a front-line starting pitcher? They might like to be, but that market is very, very thin. And, it appears to have gotten even thinner as the Colorado Rockies are saying right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is not being shopped.

The Denver Post says Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd has "no mandate to move money" and that he is not looking to trade his 27-year-old ace. From the Post:

The starting pitching market is thin and underwhelming. If he's made available, he could land a haul with 28 to 29 teams interested, namely the Yankees.

And that's where the logic veers off course.

There's little the Rockies could acquire that would justify trading the right-hander — unless someone wants to give them a front-of-the rotation starter, a top major-league- ready arm and a slugging outfielder.

The Rockies have never had a proven ace. Jimenez, when healthy, is that. Has he been a disappointment this season? Clearly. But he owns a 2.52 ERA over his last eight starts and has been among baseball's best pitchers on the road this season.

Might the Yankees be looking for a starting pitcher? Well, Phil Hughes has been injured and underwhelming and veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon better than expected. Colon, though, set off alarm bells by not surviving the first inning Thursday night -- a reminder that the Yankees did haul the hefty righty off the scrap heap this winter.

Could the Yankees entice the Rockies to move Jiminez, who went 19-8 a year ago with a 2.88 ERA? Maybe, but best guess is the price probably starts with Jesus Montero, crown jewel of the farm system, and includes Hughes and/or a couple of other top Yankee pitching prospects. In other words, the price would be awfully steep.

Jiminez is under contract to Colorado for two more years and is owed a reasonable $17.5 million if the team exercises options for 2013 and 2014.

The Yankees dangled Montero last season in an effort to get Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. If they want Jiminez they would likely to do it again. Even offering Montero, though, might not be enough to pry Jiminez from Colorado.