Minnesota Twins: Chris Gimenez Coming Out of Bullpen a Bad Look

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May 6, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Chris Gimenez (38) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Chris Gimenez (38) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chris Gimenez has made a historic amount of relief appearance for a guy who plays catcher regularly. This makes the Minnesota Twins look weak.

Chris Gimenez has yet to find a way to be the everyday starting catcher for the Minnesota Twins, but he has been able to sneak into games in a different capacity. After Thursday night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, Gimenez has now made six appearances as a relief pitcher.

Gimenez has become the “emergency reliever” for the Twins. A few things can be said about this. The first one is the Twins have put themselves into some bad situations if Gimenez has had to come in for emergency relief appearances on six occasions. It also shows the bullpen cannot be trusted. On a positive note, it is a sign that Gimenez may have another route in baseball if catching doesn’t work out.

Gimenez, however, has not pitched particularly well in these emergency outings. In six appearances, he has pitched five innings and given up four runs on seven hits. His earned run average is 7.20 on the season. With those numbers you have to wonder, why are they even putting him out there?

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It’s not a good look for the team.

It’s very rare that a team has to throw a position player on the mound during a blowout. In their history, the Twins have only had ten pitchers make 18 total appearances out of the bullpen since their move to Minnesota in 1961. Gimenez has made six of them. In fact, from 1990 to 2010 the Twins didn’t see a single position player take the mound. From 2011 to 2016 the Twins had just five appearances of that nature, not even one per season.

So why bring Gimenez out of the bullpen this many times? Well, when your bullpen’s ERA is pushing six you may need to find a way to stop the bleeding. Gimenez has been iffy on if he can actually do that. He gave up two runs in a 17-6 loss to the Astros in May. He gave up two more runs in a 14-3 loss a few weeks ago against the Mariners. Sure he has had a few scoreless outings, but what is the real point of his pitching?

When a position player pitches, it is embarrassing. It is a sign of surrendering. It is completely understandable in a game like the one against the Astros mentioned before. Arms are running short and the lead has become incredibly ridiculous. But what about the game against the White Sox on Thursday? Why not let Alan Busenitz pitch a little longer? Why not bring in a younger guy, or a guy who needs a confidence boost in a no-pressure situation?

Those are justified questions. It is a bad look for a team that has been in contention for much of the first half of the season. To wave the white flag like they have been by putting Gimenez out on the mound has been embarrassing to not just the team, but the fans watching. It’s sad to watch.

Getting blown out that much is frustrating.

The fact the Twins have had six games where manager Paul Molitor feels the need to put a position player on the mound is immensely concerning. To be blown out that many times in the first half of the season and still expect to contend for a division title just isn’t going to happen. Also, for the team to go through that many pitchers in a game has to be a problem with game management and not preparing properly for situations.

The Twins need to find a way to improve their pitching, from starters to relievers. It may not be this season, but it needs to happen soon. This season would be nice. If they don’t, at the rate they’re going, Gimenez may end up making double digit appearances. That’s definitely not something any team wants in a season.

Next: The 2017 Turnaround of Jose Berrios

The Twins need to figure out what to do so they don’t keep embarrassingly bringing in catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. No position player should have to pitch that many times in the first half of the season. It’s a bad look for the team, management and the organization as a whole. It needs to be fixed before it gets even worse.

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