Minnesota Twins Surprise By Signing Chris Gimenez


Twins Loading Up on Catching This Off-Season, Signing Free Agent Catcher Chris Gimenez.

Obviously, the Minnesota Twins felt they needed to shore up the catcher’s position this off-season. After letting Kurt Suzuki go into free agency, they have signed Jason Castro to a major league contract, plus Dan Rohlfing, Eddy Rodriguez, and now Chris Gimenez to minor league deals.

While many thought/hoped that prospect Mitch Garver would open the 2017 season as Castro’s backup, it seems as though the Twins’ front office would like to have him spend a year in AAA.

All five players, as of now, are invited to Spring Training – joining incumbent backup John Ryan Murphy in what looks to be a very crowded position once pitchers and catchers arrive. Of course, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may have other plans.

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The signing of Gimenez follows the Jason Castro line of thinking. A great receiver, adept at framing pitches, while not so strong at the plate.

They obviously feel that some of the poor pitching performances from last year stem from a lack of a competent receiver as a battery-mate.

Gimenez has struggled at the plate throughout his seven year major league career. His lifetime batting average is just .214, with a high of .262 with the Texas Rangers – when Levine was also at Texas.

Gimenez’s affiliation with the new front office also connects to Falvey, as he filled in after Yan Gomes was injured in a game at Target Field. He has, in fact, had three different stints with the Indians.

He served as a backup to Roberto Perez, catching for Trevor Bauer. Cleveland manager, Terry Francona, gave credit to Bauer’s improvement during the season to Gimenez. (Catch Paul Hoynes’ article on this at the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

He also was a leader in the clubhouse, even given his fill-in, backup status. Remember this?

Yes, that’s Gimenez leading the charge as the Indians made a “sacrifice” (frozen chicken from Target, natch) to Jobu (from “Major League”) in the visitor’s clubhouse at Target Field. While Gomes did finally snap his ohfer streak the next day – he also separated his shoulder while trying to avoid the tag from Kennys Vargas at first base.

The attraction, like Castro’s, comes from his framing ability. His defensive stats are solid, though his arm may come into question with a lifetime average of .236 for throwing out runners attempting to steal.

With all the backstops reporting to Fort Myers February 13th, it shouldn’t take long for the coaches to make some quick evaluations to trim the training camp roster to a more manageable number when the games actually begin 11 days later.

Next: Twins Sign Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong

Twins Avoid Arbitration: In just the nick of time, Minnesota avoided arbitration with all four pitchers who were arbitration-eligible. Hector Santiago ($8M), Kyle Gibson ($2.9M), Brandon Kintzler ($2.925M) avoided hearings. And Ryan Pressly ($1.175M) agreed right outside the hearing doors before going in.