August 01, 2011
You know it, I know it, the American people know it.
But it will still be a couple of weeks before the Rockies can see their new top pitching prospect in action. And it's all thanks to former big leaguer Pete Incaviglia.
Before I explain further, check out the press release from the Rockies announcing that the Jimenez deal had been finalized on Saturday:
DENVER — The Colorado Rockies announced today that the club has acquired right-handed pitchers Alex White(notes) and Joseph Gardner, catcher/infielder/outfielder Matt McBride along with a player to be named later in exchange for right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The deal is pending a physical examination on Jimenez to be performed by Cleveland medical staff tomorrow.
No mention of Pomeranz there. But the worst-kept secret of the deal is that Pomeranz is the player to be named later. It's already understood he's the key player of the trade for the Rockies.
So why all the subterfuge and disingenuous protocol?
The Rockies and Indians have to follow the rules.
Pomeranz was the Indians' first-round draft pick last year. MLB rules dictate that a draft choice cannot be traded until one year after he was signed. Teams have until Aug. 15 to sign their picks. That's when Pomeranz signed with the Tribe. And that's why he's not eligible to be traded for another two weeks.
Unofficially, this is known as "The Pete Incaviglia Rule."
What does Incaviglia have to do with any of this? In 1985, the Montreal Expos drafted Incaviglia, but he refused to sign with the team. The Expos then traded him to the Texas Rangers.
MLB wanted to make sure future players didn't follow suit and try to force trades upon being drafted, and thus instituted the one-year waiting period. Players can still choose not to sign and re-enter the draft a year later. And teams can still sign and trade those players. They just can't do so until one year has passed.
Unfortunately, that leaves Pomeranz in something of a baseball limbo until Aug. 15. Understandably, the Rockies don't want him to pitch (and suffer possible injury) until he's official property of the team. As MLB.com's Jordan Bastian explains, the Indians and Rockies are arranging a solution that will allow Pomeranz to get work in and maintain his stamina. But he won't be pitching in any more games for the Tribe's Double-A team in Akron.
Waiting to start the new phase of his baseball career can't be much fun for Pomeranz. Maybe he can think of the forced hiatus as kind of a working vacation. Or a minor league staycation. But his future as the Rockies' hopeful next ace will begin soon enough.