One week after non-tendering Aaron Miles, the St. Louis Cardinals added a replacement middle infielder to their 2008 spring training mix when signing D’Angelo Jimenez to a split contract for next season. The deal is reported to be $600,000 if the veteran remains in the majors all season long. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Jimenez can become a free agent by a certain date if not in the majors. That date is rumored to be July 1.
Jimenez, who turns 30 this week, is an eight-year major leaguer who originally came up with the New York Yankees in 1999 at the age of 21. He has never lived up to the hype, having become a nomad in the years since. The Cardinals would become the eighth organization for which he has appeared in the majors.
Primarily a second baseman with some experience at shortstop and third base, Jimenez received full-time starters’ at-bats in only three seasons – in 2002 through 2004 while with the Padres, White Sox and Reds. He has been a part-timer since with the Rangers, A’s and Washington Nationals, where he played in 2007.
During the last three seasons, Jimenez has played as low as Double-A while accumulating considerably more minor league at-bats (622) than major league ABs (just 278).
Overall, the native of the Dominican Republic has posted a .263/.351/.377 (BA/OBP/SLG) line over 2159 career big league at-bats. The switch-hitter has traditionally shown more power hitting from the left side (.399 vs. .324 SLG).
With the Cardinals clearly in need of help at the top of their line-up, it is worth noting Jimenez has considerable experience as a lead-off man. His career on-base percentage is higher than any other current Cardinals player except Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio and Chris Duncan.
Jimenez has decent speed, but has never stolen over 13 bases in a season and his career success rate is 62%. Though originally considered a risk in the field primarily due to inconsistency, he is now considered an adequate defender at second.
The addition of D’Angelo Jimenez offers the Cardinals decent middle infield insurance at a low price, but he cannot be considered a difference-maker for 2008.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.