Jimenez an experienced lefty addition to 'pen
Brewers not ruling out additional August moves
WASHINGTON -- The Brewers' recent makeover continued Saturday with the arrival of Cesar Jimenez, a 30-year-old left-hander with two years of club control remaining, who joined the bullpen in place of Neal Cotts, a 35-year-old left-hander who will be a free agent at season's end.
The Brewers claimed Jimenez off waivers from the Phillies on Friday after trading Cotts to the Twins for a player to be named or cash considerations. If the return winds up covering the $20,000 cost of a waiver claim, as is common in late-season trades, the Brewers, in practice, will have traded Cotts for Jimenez straight up, while saving the difference in salary due each player for the remainder of the year, amounting to about $600,000.
"[Cotts] would have been lucky if he gets 10 innings the rest of the year with us," Brewers GM Doug Melvin said. "From that standpoint, we just felt we would take a chance on Jimenez to give him a chance. Neal is going to be a free agent at the end of the year, and it gives him a chance to be in a pennant race."
Melvin and Twins GM Terry Ryan did discuss Minnesota prospects, but couldn't agree on fair value. They have an agreement, Melvin said, that if the Twins face a roster crunch before the start of 2016 Spring Training and plan to cut ties with a player, the Brewers will get a phone call.
If that does not happen, the Twins will send cash to the Brewers to complete the deal.
"It was a big surprise," said Jimenez, who said he pronounces his first name "SEE-zer." "But Milwaukee picked me and now I'm here, so I'm trying to work hard and keep doing what I'm doing."
Jimenez spent most of the season with the Phillies' Triple-A team but had two stints in the big leagues, making three scoreless appearances. His most recent outing spanned 2 1/3 innings of a loss at Miami on Thursday, after which he was designated for assignment to clear a spot for starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff, one of the players acquired by Philadelphia from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade.
With Milwaukee, Jimenez is likely to be a left-handed specialist.
"He's well-traveled. He's experienced," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's not going to be surprised in any situation. He's been an 'up and down' player for most of his career, but I think he's got some savvy to him, which is helpful right now."
Jimenez worked the final 1 2/3 innings of Saturday night's 6-1 loss to the Nationals, allowing two hits and striking out two.
"Athletic delivery. Knows what he's doing. Nice changeup that he's really comfortable going to," Counsell said. "A very good first impression."
Asked about the possibility of more August trades, Melvin said, "We still have a few more players we have to ask waivers on. We've asked waivers on probably 20 of our players. I don't have any sense of [whether another trade is possible]. My gut feeling is it's probably tough, because a lot of players get claimed and then they don't engage in trade [talks], so it's just blocking."