After kicking off the Out of Options series (click here for the quick introduction article) a while back, it’s time to revisit things by looking at the next team on the list. Today the Chicago White Sox are at the plate with three players on their 40-man roster that do not have minor league options remaining. Could any of these three help shore up a weakness on the roster of the Kansas City Royals? Considering they are a catcher, utility infielder and a left-handed reliever, on the surface they might be some intrigue but let’s take a closer look to find out.
The 30-year old Gimenez has spent the bulk of his time behind the plate, but he also has minor league experience at 3B, 1B and an all but forgotten 3 games in LF back in 2009. Signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela by the Astros in 1999, he’s also spent time with the Rays, Pirates, Dodgers and White Sox. His major league experience has been limited to 11 games and 20 plate appearances but he’s hit 0.264/.320/.416 in 10 minor league seasons. Gimenez has drawn a walk in 7.7% of his 3,604 MiLB PA and struck out in 18.8% of them. The last three seasons, his power numbers have shown a slight uptick (72 2B and 41 HR) but that’s to be expected since he was 27-29 and in the sweet spot of prime years for hitters. Defensively Gimenez touts a very respectable 36% caught-stealing percentage and gunned down 22 of 51 (43%) while playing for Charlotte (AAA) in 2012. He did manage 5 hits in 11 plate appearances with the White Sox late in the year last season, but the big league sample size is so small it’s hard to judge anything.
Gimenez could serve as a decent backup to an elite catcher, like Salvador Perez, and may be worth a look for the Royals. Of course I say that as one of the few people that is not a fan of the addition of George Kottaras – who is a flat out liability behind the plate.
There is a whole lot to like about Septimo. He throws left-handed, turned 27 last summer and made his major league debut in 2012. He also doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear on his arm. When the Arizona Diamondbacks signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2003, it was with the intent to develop him as an outfielder. It wasn’t until 2008 that Arizona moved Septimo to the mound. As you’d expect given the late transition to pitching as a professional his minor league resume is a bit up and down, but in Charlotte last year things started to fall into place. He finished with a 1.31 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 4.2 H/9 and 11.3 SO/9. Septimo did walk 20 hitters, but that 5.2 BB/9 actually represented a career best at any level. Once up with the White Sox he logged 14.1 IP in 21 appearances with a 5.05 ERA. Aside from the ERA, the rest of his stat line was very promising. He continued to make strides with his control finishing with a 3.8 BB/9 in the majors and struck out nearly a batter an inning (8.8 SO/9). His WHIP, thanks to allowing only 8 hits was an impressive 0.98. The reason for his bloated ERA can be traced directly back to the fact that three of the eight hits he surrendered were home runs. To say he has a live arm would be understating things and he’d fit in nicely in the Royals bullpen as a hard throwing lefty. He can comfortably throw in the mid-90s and can reach back and hit triple digits when he needs to. As he’s gained experience he’s learned to sacrifice a little power for increased control. His velocity comes easy from a three-quarters delivery and if opposing batters sit on his fastball he has a slider and changeup in his arsenal. Though the sample size is small, both his fastball and slider rated as above average major league pitches and his changeup, which he threw only 1.5% of the time, was exactly average.
Septimo very well could be a late bloomer and the potential locked in his left arm is significant. The Royals have one of the best, and youngest, bullpens in all of baseball, however lefties that throw this hard aren’t all that easy to come by. The overall quality and depth of the relief corps in Kansas City would also allow the team to bring him along slowly and pick their spots as Septimo continues to learn the craft and finer points of pitching. Chicago is, of course, aware of all of these things and will certainly look to find a spot on their roster for him. However it’s a numbers game for them and they’re also looking to contend in 2013. While other relievers in their mix have options, Septimo could get squeezed out since he is a gamble.
If the name strikes you as familiar, it should. He was the Royals 11th round pick in the 2001 draft and made his major league debut with Kansas City back in 2006. Now 29 years of age, Sanchez has spent time with Toronto, Houston and Boston since leaving the Royals after the 2008 season. He was signed to a minor league contract by the Angels in October, but the White Sox picked him up in December’s Rule 5 draft. Known primarily for his glove early in his minor league career, he has made significant advances in his plate approach and discipline recently. Last year Sanchez hit 0.320/.390/.407 with 40 BB and 25 SO in 398 PA for Oklahoma City – Houston’s Triple-A affiliate. He’s hit 0.255/.304/.308 in 184 major league games and has experience at 2B, SS and 3B. Even if Angel Sanchez doesn’t make the White Sox roster, I have little doubt that he will get an opportunity with another team. For the Royals however, they’ve been down this road before, though it was primarily under the previous regime. It’s hard to see him providing more value than some of Kansas City’s in-house options that are already fighting for a utility spot.