As if the Detroit Tigers season was not disheartening enough, their top prospect has now become disenchanted with the organization. Hey, what’s one more on the “The Tigers are my baseball team and I hate my life” bandwagon? Step into our nightmare, Joe. The water is warm.
I first heard last week that talented 22-year-old reliever Joe Jimenez, the Tigers’ latest closer of the future, had been brooding down in Toledo ever since his June 15 return from a back injury. The story was told with three degrees of separation from the source so I punted it off my radar. Now it looks like my friend’s aunt’s cousin had this thing pegged. Jimenez sure seems upset. Take a look at this doozy from his verified Twitter account, posted shortly after Saturday’s Mud Hens game.
This Tweet lasted all of about 90 seconds before it was deleted. Jimenez had just tossed his 4th consecutive scoreless outing, recording the save in a Mud Hens victory. I saw the post-midnight Tweet in real time because my 1-year-old daughter has an adversarial relationship with sleep. Sunday, I took the opportunity to call someone I trust on Tigers affairs. Although he had no knowledge regarding the deleted Tweet, it was clear that Jimenez has been upset for some time with the Tigers.
Unlike Bruce Rondon, a perpetual problem child with an arrogance issue, Jimenez supposedly just acts sad all day and doesn’t talk to any of his co-workers. Which is an experience every Tigers fan can relate to.
The young hurler had a dominant 2016 across the minor league system, posting a 1.51 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. The Tigers immediately viewed Jimenez as a threat to their dominant streak of having Bottom 5 MLB bullpens and ticketed him for the minors out of Spring Training this April.
It has been downhill ever since.
Call me an insane optimist, but I am not ready to toss poor Jimenez on the pile with Matt Anderson, Ryan Perry, Daniel Schlereth, Bruce Rondon, and every other hard throwing Tigers reliever that drove up the price on Jack Daniels in metro Detroit.
The Tigers can afford to be patient. You never want to disrupt team chemistry when you are 29th in bullpen ERA and 8 games out of first place.