Big Luis Jimenez outrighted off 40-man roster

The Mariners opened up another spot on their 40-man roster Thursday by outrighting designated hitter Luis Jimenez back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Big Luis put on some tremendous batting practice displays with the Mariners after getting called up in September and had a nice year in Tacoma, where he was the Rainiers Offensive Player of the Year. But it was pretty clear, even in a limited time that last month, that Jimenez was going to have trouble with Major League pitching.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder was 1-for-17 (.059) with one walk and four strikeouts in seven games as a DH and pinch hitter. It was the first shot in the Majors for the Venezuelan after 12 seasons in the Minors and one season in Japan.

Jimenez is a great guy, a jovial big man who deserved his September call-up after hitting 20 home runs and 91 RBIs in 125 games with Tacoma. But there is a reason he’s been with seven different organizations and never got a shot until this late-season stint at age 30.

Jimenez is a man without a position, strictly a DH candidate at the Major League level, and his batting-practice power didn’t translate into games, where pitchers don’t feed big guys a steady diet of fastballs. He struggled to hit breaking stuff and swung through a lot of pitches in the dirt in his limited exposure with Seattle.

The Mariners are going to need space on their 40-man roster to add players and protect some of their top young prospects when it comes time for the Rule 5 draft, thus the move of Jimenez as well as the release of Munenori Kawasaki on Wednesday.

The 40-man roster now stands at 38 players and they’ll gain four more openings when the free agency period begins the day after the conclusion of the World Series. At that point, catcher Miguel Olivo and pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, Kevin Millwood, Oliver Perez and George Sherrill will become free agents.

Sherrill currently isn’t counting against the 40, as he remains on the 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery in April. Here is the 40-man roster as it stands.

Clubs have five days after the World Series to re-sign their own free agents. After that, they are able to sign with any team.

Jimenez falls into a similar situation now as a six-year Minor League free agent. If he doesn’t agree to a Minor League contract with the Mariners by the fifth day after the end of the World Series, he would become a Minor League free agent.


What do you think the chances are Jack goes after Ronny Cedeno as middle infield depth?

I have a hard time predicting exactly who might be targeted in free agency without knowing that player’s interest or options or contract expectations. I suppose bringing a guy like Cedeno back could make sense as a challenger to Ryan and insurance policy for Ackley, but they also have some young options there with Triuenfel and Franklin, and there may be some other veteran FA possibilities either on a low-end deal or Minor League deal. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see a veteran addition to the middle-infield competition, but I don’t see that as one of the top priorities.

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