Backup catcher Chris Gimenez has elected for free agency, the Cleveland Indians confirmed Monday on Twitter.
The Tribe outrighted Gimenez to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers in order to make room for rising prospect Francisco Mejia and protect him from the Rule 5 draft in December. Gimeinez, 33, rejected the assignment, opting instead to test the free agent waters.
Gimenez began his career in Cleveland; drafted in the 19th round of the 2004 draft and debuting with the Tribe in 2009. The Indians traded for Gimenez in early May of this season, bringing the catcher to Cleveland for the first time since 2010.
While his contribution to box scores was minimal, Gimenez seemed to be a universally liked player in the clubhouse. For a time after he was initially acquired, Gimenez served as the personal catcher for Trevor Bauer. He also split time in the starting role with Roberto Perez, who was rushed back from a thumb injury to cover for an injured Yan Gomes.
Gimenez was also one of the leading voices in the clubhouse after Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a trade that would have landed him in Cleveland. Said Gimenez:
His loss. I don’t have any idea why he did [veto]; I just know he said something [previously] about how he wanted to play for a contender. he had the opportunity.
He also went on to say that, while Lucroy would have helped, he believed in this Indians team and hoped they would “win the World Series [and be] laughing at him.” As we know now, that came very close to happening.
Giminez slashed .216/.273/.331 in 155 plate appearances with the Indians in the regular season. While he was left off the postseason roster, he was often seen cheering alongside his teammates in the dugout, as well as offering words of encouragement on Twitter.