Minnesota Twins Free Agent Possibility: Cesar Jimenez
Could Cesar Jimenez be a possibility for the Minnesota Twins?
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*Well, we’ve apparently screwed up. But we’ll own up to it. It looks like Cesar Jimenez is heading to Italy next season. Thanks to Jim Goulart for the info. Or is he for sure going to Italy? In short, nobody knows for sure right now it seems. This thing’s getting crazy.*
*Update: Scratch the above. It would seem he is indeed still available*
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at candidates to throw into the bullpen mix for the Minnesota Twins. Ideally the candidates would be a lefty and as a bonus, would have a great strikeout rate. Names like Bastardo and Thornton are still available but would most likely be out of the Twins’ price range. We’ve been focussing on more inexpensive relievers who still could be valuable.
Today we’ll look at the possibility of Cesar Jimenez.
Jimenez is 30 years old and is a prototypical journeyman. He’s played parts of 6 MLB seasons but only 104.1 innings. The Mariners signed Jimenez as an amateur free agent in 2001. He made his MLB debut in 2006 appearing in 7.1 innings. He briefly appeared again with Seattle in 2008 and 2011. After a disastrous minor league season in 2012, Jimenez signed with the Phillies. Things turned around for Cesar in 2013 and he earned a call up. He pitched 17 innings in 2013 and 16 innings in 2014 for Philadelphia. In 2015 he was only used for 3.1 innings before being sent down again. This time the Brewers picked him up off waivers and Jimenez threw 19.2 quality innings to finish off the season. After the 2015 season he was outrighted and elected free agency.
Over 23 innings in 2015, Jimenez had a 3.13 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 1.087 WHIP and a 9.8 K/9. Compare those numbers to his career line of 4.05 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.351 WHIP and 6.9 K/9. 2015 may have just been hot streak but his opponent’s BABIP was not far off his career average and his HR/FB didn’t do him any favours. The real reason for Jimenez’ breakthrough may be attributed to his 53.4% groundball percentage. See this article for an analysis into the pitch selection that led to this shift.
Jimenez displays a significant platoon split. Against righties in his career, opponents have a .749 OPS and against lefties, .630 OPS. In 2015 righties hit .634 OPS against him and lefties, .473. Jimenez hasn’t been used as a lefty specialist but putting him in such a role could prove fruitful.
Jimenez features a fastball, slider and a change. His fastball sits at 89 MPH. Jimenez was worth 0.3 WAR in 2015 and 1 WAR over his career. Baseball-Reference projects a 3.79 ERA, 1.263 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 for him in 2016.
Next: Breakout Candidate: John Ryan Murphy
Jimenez made a prorated portion of 0.6 million for his time at the major league level in 2015. If the Twins were interested, they could get him on a minor league deal. Jimenez may have figured out something that works at age 30—there are some tantalizing trends. If he can continue his 2015 performance, he’d be a perfect fit—a lefty reliever with strikeout abilities. It would cost the Twins very little and virtually no risk to find out.