Exploring the Angels’ options with Jimenez …

Luis JimenezSo, what will the Angels do with Luis Jimenez once Alberto Callaspo comes back?

Since his call-up, Jimenez (you can call him “Lucho”) has built somewhat of a cult following and has sparked the Angels, batting .355 while playing a much-improved defense at third base. Callaspo has been out since April 11 because of a right calf strain. He isn’t eligible to return until Saturday, and my guess is he’ll come back shortly after that (he basically just needs to be cleared to run).

When that does happen, what do the Angels do with Jimenez? Here’s a look at their options, under the assumption that shortstop Erick Aybar is already back on the roster by the time Callaspo comes back …

Keep him as the starting third baseman: Simply put, the Angels know who Jimenez is, and they like what Callaspo gives them. That’s why they signed Callaspo thru 2014 in the offseason, even though Jimenez was coming off a solid year in Triple-A. To go back on that three weeks into the season would be a bit of a knee-jerk, I’d say. But if Jimenez does keep the starting job, Callaspo could be a serviceable pinch-hitter off the bench because he’s a switch-hitter and he’s patient. He’d also be a nice late-game defensive replacement at the hot corner. But don’t get any thoughts of Maicer Izturis in your head. Callaspo certainly can’t handle shortstop, and I’m not sure how serviceable he can be at second base at this point (he’s played 12 games there since 2009).

For what it’s worth, Mike Scioscia gave Callaspo a ringing endorsement on Sunday, saying: “Alberto’s huge for our team – very important. He’s the type of guy that if Lucho wasn’t stepping up and playing so well, you’d really be pointing to him and saying how much we miss Alberto. And we need him back, for sure.”

Bring Jimenez off the bench: The positive is that he’d give the Angels some much needed power off the bench; the negative is that Jimenez isn’t all that versatile. He started to learn first base this spring, but that’s really all he plays. It’d be nice to have a right-handed bat off the bench capable of driving the ball, but how well would the 24-year-old Jimenez handle being a pinch-hitter. Young players like him don’t have any experience doing it. Keeping Jimenez would bring another tough decision for Scioscia, regarding sending down Brendan Harris or Andrew Romine. Harris has the better bat, Romine has the better glove.

Send Jimenez down to the Minors: This one would just feel, well, wrong. The sample size is still awfully small, but Jimenez has been a really nice spark for this team, not only with the bat, but with his energy and the way he carries himself. He just seems like he belongs here. If he keeps hitting, could the Angels really justify sending him back to Triple-A? Do they need both Harris and Romine off the bench, or could one do in order to keep Jimenez on the roster? It’s a question that may need an answer relatively soon.

Alden

8 Comments

I think Harris goes down because Romine is faster, a better SS, and a LH bat. Jimenez replaces Harris as a RH bat off the bench. Maybe Callaspo doesn’t need to play every day.

I think Jimenez goes to AAA and learns first base in addition to third, for now. Then after a couple months of that they can bring him back up to replace Harris.

Why not a 4th option: trade Callaspo. He is under team control for 2 years at a reasonable salary, he plays a respectable 3rd base and has value offensively. During the offseason everyone was talking about Trumbo for 3rd base or trading for a 3rd baseman, shat has changed? Callaspo is the same player he was last year, if we were willing to let him go then, why not now. I don’t see any benefit to sending Jimenez to AAA to learn first base, we need him now at third.

He reminds me of high energy spark plugs such as Trout, Echstein, and other past energizers like Orlando Cabrara and for all you old timers, Louis Palonia. Since the start of spring training Jimenez has gone from sleeper to Keeper. Find a way to use his Xfactor persona.

Luis Polonia & David Eckstein.

thanx mom

I think that Jimenez deserves a chance to show what he can do.
If he stumbles, then send him down to learn first base and get right.
Callaspo on the bench is a good option, but maybe a trade for another arm is also a good idea.

I also think trading Callaspo is a nice option or if he will except the pinch hitting role, that would work. But we need this spark plug in the line up.

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