Leo: Hidden Gimenez
The Chris Gimenez – Eric Wedge marriage seems to be over, probably for good this time. The former Clippers utility man opted for free agency this week after being designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners. Gimenez, 29, played 24 games with Seattle last season, he hit .203 with one double, one homer, six RBI and ten walks.
In total, he has logged 97 games in the majors over the last three seasons.
Gimenez can catch and play the corner infield/outfield positions, something that endeared him to former Indians skippers Eric Wedge a few years ago. A 19th round draft pick by the Tribe in 2004, Gimenez climbed the minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A in the later stages of the 2008 season.
The story is that during the opening weeks of 2009 spring training, Wedge was hitting fly balls to several players and while most were moving at a light pace, Gimenez was sprinting across the field for every batted ball, making a few diving catches on the quiet Goodyear practice fields. Wedge was so impressed with the blue-collar work ethic of Gimenez, that he called him up to the bigs later that season.
Wedge was fired by the Indians after 2009 and took the reins in Seattle last year, while Gimenez was removed from the Indians 40-man roster after the 2010 campaign. Gimenez and Wedge reunited last season as Chris signed with the Mariners via free agency.
Seattle recently acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees, bumping Gimenez off the roster. Even though Wedge and the Mariners offered him a chance to start in Triple-A, he declared free agency and signed with Tampa Bay.
He will now go to Rays spring training with Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos, Stephen Vogt, Nevin Ashley, Craig Albernez and Mark Thomas all vying for the chance to join Jose Molina as the major league catching tandem. Lobaton and Chirinos are the favorites, so there is a decent chance Gimenez could start the season with Durham.
Gimenez has been one of my favorite players to cover because he’s extremely intelligent, self-aware, and forthcoming. He truly loves baseball, understanding his limitations, and works very hard to overcome all the obstacles he faces. Those attributes have served him well during his career and hopefully will help in his new organization. I’ll be rooting for him and something tells me Eric Wedge will be too.