Detroit Tigers face decisions on Goodrum and Jimenez

Detroit Tigers, Joe Jimenez (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers, Joe Jimenez (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers have decisions to make on Joe Jimenez and Niko Goodrum, as they must offer them a contract by Wednesday or let them go.

As major league teams face the deadline of Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. to offer their arbitration-eligible players contracts, the Detroit Tigers face decisions on two key players from 2020 in infielder Niko Goodrum and pitcher Joe Jimenez.

We’ll start with Goodrum. In 2018 and 2019, he played all over the diamond for the Tigers and posted a decent OPS of .747 and .743, respectively, in those two seasons. Last year, he started the season as the team’s shortstop and had a great opportunity to take advantage of some playing time.

However, Goodrum, at age 28, took a step backward in 2020. His OPS fell to .598, and Willi Castro eventually started getting the playing time at short, though towards the end of the year Goodrum saw some time at second base due to an injury to Jonathan Schoop.

Goodrum is projected to make $1.6 million through the arbitration process in 2021. Will the Tigers retain him and hope he can turn it around and still be a valuable utility piece? Or will they decide that’s too much money and cut ties?

Then there’s Jimenez, who is younger at 26 but is also coming off a disappointing season. We all remember how he was an All-Star in 2018, and he had a decent 2019 in which he posted a 4.37 ERA in 66 games.

He had an opportunity to take the closer’s role and run with it in 2020, but instead he posted a 7.15 ERA in 25 games and didn’t gain any saves after August 9. Jimenez is projected to make $1 million through the arbitation process for next year. Whether they keep him or not will depend on how much more patient they decide to be with him. Is it too late for him to turn his career around?

A year ago, both Goodrum and Jimenez appeared to be an important part of the Tigers’ future, but instead, there is a decent chance that one or both of them will be let go by Wednesday’s deadline. What will the Tigers do with these two players? We’ll have to wait and see.

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