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Tribe officially sends Pomeranz to Rockies

Tribe officially sends Pomeranz to Rockies

Tribe officially sends Pomeranz to Rockies
CHICAGO -- A few hours after completing the blockbuster trade that put starter Ubaldo Jimenez in a Cleveland uniform, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti discussed the agonizing decision to include prized pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz in the deal.

Then, Antonetti caught himself.

"Sorry," Antonetti said, "I mean the player to be named later."

It was one of the worse-kept secrets in some time.

Before the non-waiver Trade Deadline expired on July 31, the Indians and Rockies agreed to a five-player swap that sent Jimenez to the Tribe and four players to Colorado. Among those headed to the Rockies were pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner, first baseman Matt McBride and a player to be named.

That unspecified player's name was Pomeranz. Everyone knew it. The young left-hander knew it. Both the Indians and Rockies acknowledged as much when speaking about the major trade that was completed with a half-hour to spare before the 4 p.m. ET Deadline. On Tuesday, Pomeranz was officially traded.

"In terms of my recent memory," Antonetti said on Tuesday afternoon, "it was certainly one of the lesser-kept secrets."

Technically, though, Pomeranz was ineligible to be dealt at the time of the deal.

The Indians selected the 6-foot-5, 230-pound southpaw out of Ole Miss with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Pomeranz did not sign a professional contract with Cleveland until last summer's Aug. 15 deadline. Teams are not allowed to trade draftees for a period of one year, beginning on the date they pen their name on their first contract.

That stipulation put Pomeranz in a type of baseball purgatory after the Jimenez trade.

Cleveland agreed to send Pomeranz to Colorado as part of the deal, but the left-hander was required to remain under the Indians' control until Tuesday.

"The timing of it kind of made it very clear who the player to be named later was," said Carter Hawkins, the Indians' assistant director of player development. "That made it unique for not only Drew, but for us as well. Drew handled it really well.

"It was a confusing time for him and for everyone, but he handled it very maturely and professionally."

For the past two weeks, Hawkins and Ross Atkins, the Indians' director of player development, kept in contact with Rockies director of player development Marc Gustafson. Colorado came up with a development plan for the 22-year-old Pomeranz to follow until his official transfer to Double-A Tulsa.

"It's surely weird," Pomeranz told MLB.com a few days after the trade. "I don't think anyone knows too much about what I can or can't do. I prefer to be pitching somewhere, but it's not working out like that right now. I just have to stay prepared and go from there."

In the wake of the Jimenez deal, the Indians' moved Pomeranz from Double-A Akron to their Arizona League affiliate at the club's complex in Goodyear, Ariz. During his time in Arizona, Pomeranz did not pitch in games, but he did throw long toss, bullpen sessions and completed a pair of simulated games.

Hawkins noted that Pomeranz threw 45 pitches in one three-inning simulated game and then advanced to 65 pitches in a four-inning simulation. The hitters who stepped in to face the lefty in the sessions were not permitted to swing. Between those workouts, Pomeranz stuck to his usual strength and conditioning routine.

"Drew basically just maintained his arm strength leading up to his transfer out to Tulsa," Hawkins explained. "It definitely was less than ideal, but I think all three parties -- Drew, us and the Rockies -- were able to work it out well. We got him out to Arizona.

"We and the Rockies felt like that was a good spot for him to not necessarily be in the spotlight, and also for him to be able to just continue his development out there until he was ready to move on."

Part of the issue with Pomeranz's situation was the timing of the signing deadline.

"Certainly, if you had a signing deadline before July 31st," Antonetti said, "and you traded on the 31st, you wouldn't have to do the player to be named later. But, even if you move up the signing deadline and you trade one of those players on June 5 or June 10, you're still going to have the same issue.

"It'll always be that way until they basically allow for the trading of Draft picks."

Pomeranz, who features an overpowering fastball and a knee-buckling curve, began this season at high Class A Kinston before being promoted to Akron within the Indians' system. The lefty's two-pitch arsenal is impressive, but the Tribe asked Pomeranz to begin developing a changeup to add to the mix this year.

Between both Minor League stops, Pomeranz struck out an average of 11.1 batters per nine innings. Over 18 starts with Kinston and Akron, he went a combined 3-3 with a 1.98 ERA. Along the way, Pomeranz amassed 112 strikeouts against 38 walks over 98 innings of work.

On Tuesday, Pomeranz was finally permitted to travel from Arizona to Tulsa, where he will immediately join Colorado's Double-A affiliate.

Pomeranz took to his Twitter account -- he can be found under the handle @DrewPomeranz -- to express his excitement over finally being able to join the Rockies.

"After two boring weeks, officially a Rockie!" Pomeranz wrote. "Excited to get [going] again!"

Pomeranz is no longer just a player to be named.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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