Detroit Tigers decision makers made a pair of relatively minor moves on Friday. While they may not pay off immediately, both moves could help Detroit down the stretch.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila and the rest of the Detroit front office made two moves on Friday that could pay dividends in the playoff race—especially where the bullpen is concerned.
However, outside of that group, the results have been far from perfect. Offseason signing Mark Lowe has struggled mightily, with an ERA (9.19) approaching 10. Drew VerHagen’s ERA jumped to 7.11 in 19 innings, while the previously dependable Blaine Hardy has seen his both ERA and FIP eclipse the 5.00.
What’s more, players like Warwick Saupold, Bobby Parnell and Logan Kensing have failed to stick. Outside of Buck Farmer, and potentially Saupold or Parnell, there aren’t too many options in the upper minors.
That is, until Friday.
Per a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account, the Tigers promoted ace relief prospect Joe Jimenez to Triple-A. Jimenez has done nothing but dominate since joining the Detroit minor-league system in 2013.
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The reliever has pitched to a 1.50 ERA in 125.2 innings pitched. After impressing in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Jimenez has taken his game to a new level this season.
In 38 appearances, the 21-year-old has accumulated 22 saves while only allowing 17 hits and five runs. He’s struck out an outstanding 62 batters in 38 innings pitched. He’s only walked 13 batters. Additionally, the reliever’s ERA is a minuscule 1.18.
Jimenez will now take his talents to Triple-A, and pitch for the Toledo Mud Hens.
The future closer joins a roster that includes a number of players who could play a big role in Detroit’s future. JaCoby Jones, Steven Moya and Dixon Machado could all start for the Tigers down the road, while the likes of Chad Bell, John Hicks and Dean Green could all play a part as well.
If Jimenez continues to dominate in Toledo like he has in Lakeland and Erie, the top prospect could find himself pitching in meaningful game for Detroit as the playoffs approach.
In a second tweet from the team’s official Twitter account, the Tigers announced the signing of Major League veteran Cesar Ramos to a minor-league contract.
The eight-year veteran was previously with Texas earlier in the season, where he posted a 6.04 ERA, a 6.60 FIP and a 5.24 SIERA. These kind of numbers generally aren’t the norm for the left-hander, who has long been a solid reliever at the big league level.
From 2011 to 2015, the former first-round pick accumulated a 3.49 ERA and a 3.84 FIP in 276 innings for the Rays and Angels. He struck out 7.2 batters per nine innings over the same span.
If Ramos can pitch at that level again, he’d be a solid contributor to Detroit’s bullpen, as well as a pitcher who could come in during the seventh or eighth inning. In fact, this very publication thought the Tigers to sign him seven months ago during the offseason.
Ramos now has a chance with the Detroit Tigers, but he’ll have to work his way up from Toledo. Detroit’s official twitter account also announced that the reliever will head to Triple-A.