Detroit Tigers: A look at the collapse of Joe Jiménez in 2020

(Brad Rempel/ USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Rempel/ USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers saw their closer, Joe Jiménez, collapse during the 2020 season and lose control over the closer job by the end of the year.

When the Detroit Tigers traded Shane Greene at the 2019 trade deadline, the closing job was given to reliever Joe Jiménez. The right-hander was an all-star in 2018 and was given the closer role for the 2020 season.

In the shortened 60-game sprint season, the Tigers saw Jiménez struggle to lock down that role by the end of the season. Instead, it was the 2020 breakout reliever Bryan Garcia took over the role in the last few games of the year.

It has to be a shock for the Tigers who thought they had a closer in Jiménez; rather, the organization would watch him struggle and be removed from that role, finishing out just nine games during the 2020 season.

Jiménez would notch just five saves during the 2020 season, pitching in 25 total games where he accumulated 22.2 innings pitched. He managed a 7.15 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP, and giving up seven home runs.

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He struggled greatly. Jiménez could not seem to get back to the level of play he had been on in past seasons.

He appeared to have been settling in coming into 2020, but he could not get things going and ultimately lost his job.

The Tigers are going to have to piece together a bullpen for the 2021 season, and there have to be some question marks around Jiménez and his ability to be reliable in the bullpen.

Whether he will be given another shot as the closer come 2021 spring, it seems like the closer role could be a revolving door to start Spring Training and the 2021 season.

Looking at Jiménez’s Baseball Savant page, he was downright terrible. He was near the bottom of the league in all of the metrics regarding the opposition’s success against him. It sucks to see this for Jiménez, but the rest of the Tigers bullpen performed well given the recent track record.

The hope would be that Jiménez can figure it out in time for 2021 and be an addition to the organization’s bullpen. There will be plenty of options on the free-agent market, including cost-effective ones, so if Jiménez truly falls off the table, the Tigers can bridge the gap with free-agent additions.

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At the end of the day, no team wants to see their closer struggle like Joe Jiménez did in 2020, but hopefully, he can turn things around for the 2021 Detroit Tigers season.