Andres Gimenez has a huge opportunity with the Cleveland Indians
On Saturday (Aug. 7) the Cleveland Indians made the move to recall middle infielder Andres Gimenez from Triple-A Columbus, sending down starting pitcher J.C. Mejia in a corresponding move. Originally the Opening Day starter at shortstop, Gimenez had a slow start to the season that saw him optioned to Columbus on May 18. Now, he’s getting another shot.
With the trade deadline moves by the Tribe, specifically moving Cesar Hernandez, there are ample opportunities for young players to prove their worth. For Gimenez, he lost his spot at shortstop to Amed Rosario, but that doesn’t mean he’s fully out of a job just yet. With second base now up for grabs, the team is reporting that he will get a lot of time there.
"“The Indians will finally get a second look at Giménez, who was their Opening Day shortstop. After a red-hot Spring Training campaign, Giménez cooled off quickly in the regular season and was sent to Triple-A to get some more developmental time. He’ll mostly play second base and will also get work at shortstop.” (via Indians.com)"
Gimenez saw his first action back in the big leagues on Sunday (Aug. 8), playing shortstop against Detroit. He went 0-for-3 with an RBI, but his Triple-A stats give hope to better outcomes in the near future. When down in Columbus, Gimenez played in 52 games for the Clippers and was able to slash .287/.342/.502 with 13 doubles and 10 home runs. He also tallied 31 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Gimenez also saw 17 games at second for the Clippers, committing two errors for a .972 fielding percentage. That’s not great, but it’s pretty much par for the course when taking into account all of Cleveland’s current in-house options to play second.
It’s for that reason that Gimenez has such a big opportunity right now. He’s being given a second chance in the majors this season and the other options that are competing with him aren’t too great. If he can carry over his bat from Columbus, he could be the front runner for the second base job heading into the 2022 season.
The main competition for Gimenez right now is from Owen Miller and Ernie Clement. With Bobby Bradley banged up, Miller has been playing first recently, but with a fully healthy lineup it will come down to Gimenez, Miller and Clement at second.
Miller has struggled at the plate thus far, slashing just .145/.207/.250 with two doubles and two home runs. Despite having played 11 games at Progressive Field, this past weekend saw his first hit at home, now rolling with a 2-for-32 at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
As for Clement, he’s been a bit better with a slash line of .247/.297/.294 with four doubles and five RBI. He’s yet to have a home run, but the best average of the group will help. Clement has also been playing well recently, slashing .283/.327/.348 over the last 28 days.
Beyond these three there most likely isn’t going to be any other players added to the mix this season. Yu Chang could potentially see time, but he’s more useful as a utility player off the bench in the grand scheme of things. Prospect Gabriel Arias is also a candidate, but service time could become a factor down the stretch.
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The reality is that for Andres Gimenez, this could be his best opportunity to nab a starting spot with the Cleveland Indians. While Miller and Clement are in the mix, they don’t have the upside that Gimenez flashed when he was with the New York Mets last season.
With the Mets in 2020, Gimenez slashed .263/.333/.398 with three doubles, two triples, three home runs, eight stolen bases and 12 RBI. He even received Rookie of the Year votes. If he can return to that form, the second base job should easily be his for the rest of the season, but that could be a big if.
Turning 23-years old on Sept. 4, Gimenez has a lot of baseball ahead of him. However, making the move over the second while trying to prove you’re MLB-ready is not an easy task. Gimenez will be under team control through the 2025 season, so the club can be patient with him. However, that’s not what Gimenez should be counting on.
The Cleveland Indians have plenty of young middle infield talent coming up through the minor leagues that could push Gimenez out of a job eventually. While the team can be patient with his development, if he wants to win a starting job in Cleveland, this is his best opportunity.