Word came down this morning that slugger Luis Jimenez signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, ending his two-year run as a member of the Tacoma Rainiers.
Jimenez had a solid season for the Rainiers in 2012, batting .310 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI. He also drew 64 walks, leading to a .394 on-base percentage and an OPS of .908.
The 30-year-old designated hitter received his first major league call-up last September, going 1-for-17 mostly as a pinch-hitter. In Seattle, he made more of a mark with his prodigious power displays during batting practice. He took the “Hit It Here Cafe” sign literally.
Hopefully the Blue Jays are a good fit for Luis. Their Triple-A affiliate moved to Buffalo, NY (from Las Vegas) during the off-season. He’ll presumably play there unless he is needed to DH in Toronto.
As for right now, Luis is once again leading his hometown Venezuela Winter League team Cardinales de Lara in home runs and RBI.
We’ll miss Luis in Tacoma, where he was popular with fans and brought some thunder to the middle of the lineup.
We still have not heard a single name of any minor league free agents signed by the Mariners.
This is not unusual – the team usually announces the signings in one big group in January. However, we usually have some names leaked earlier, via Baseball America or Twitter. I’ve been on the lookout and have asked around a little bit, and I’ve come up with nothing.
I expect the Mariners to sign veteran Triple-A types to fill a few Tacoma positions: a catcher, an outfielder or two, and maybe a couple of relievers.
- The Mariners officially signed outfielder Jason Bay over the weekend. Ryan Divish writes that concussions were part of the reason why he struggled with the Mets.
- Larry Stone writes that the Mariners are still hoping to land a big bat.
- Stone has a thoughtful post on how the huge contract that Zack Greinke just signed with the Dodgers impacts Felix Hernandez and his next contract – and he poses the question, will Felix be worth it?
- Former Rainiers and Mariners reliever George Sherrill signed with the Kansas City Royals. He was injured almost all of 2012.
- The Colorado Springs Sky Sox have a new manager, and it is former Mariners outfielder Glenallen Hill.
- Six different Major League managers played for the Nashville Sounds – and they all agree that Nashville needs a new ballpark.
- The Las Vegas 51s might move to the suburbs.
- No need to check your pockets – the Tacoma pocket gopher is extinct.
I have to admit, I didn’t even know that we used to have our own pocket gopher.