The Brewers announced on Monday that they have signed left-handers Chris Capuano and Cesar Jimenez to minor league contracts with invitations to big league Spring Training (Twitter link). Jimenez spent the latter portion of the 2015 campaign in Milwaukee, and Capuano, of course, spent seven years in the Brewers organization earlier in his career.
Capuano was originally drafted by the D-backs but was traded to Milwaukee in 2003 alongside the man who now writes out the lineup card on a daily basis: Craig Counsell. Capuano, Counsell, Lyle Overbay, Jorge De La Rosa, Junior Spivey and Chad Moeller all went to Milwaukee in a trade that netted the D-backs Richie Sexson and two others in a trade that now looks quite lopsided, especially considering the fact that injuries held Sexson to 23 games in his lone year with Arizona.
Capuano would go on to pitch 744 2/3 innings of 4.34 ERA ball with the Brewers over the next seven years — two of which were completely wiped out by injuries. For his career, Capuano has a similar 4.39 ERA in 1405 2/3 innings, the most recent of which came in 2015 as a member of the Yankees. Capuano became an unfortunate poster boy for the DFA process last summer when New York designated him for assignment on four different occasions over a one-month span. His collective efforts with the Yankees resulted in a 7.97 ERA in 40 2/3 innings — making last year the clear worst season of his career.
Jimenez on the other hand, was a nice success story after being claimed off waivers from the Phillies organization. In 19 2/3 innings with the Brewers, the 31-year-old recorded a 3.66 ERA with a 21-to-8 K/BB ratio. All told, Jimenez pitched 23 big league innings last season and struck out 25 hitters against eight walks with a 3.13 ERA. Opposing left-handers batted a mere .200/.273/.200 against Jimenez, and he also held righties to a weak .208/.276/.358 batting line. Jimenez hasn’t always held righties in check so well (.749 lifetime OPS against), but left-handers have hit him at just a .231/.303/.327 clip in his career. With three-plus years of service time under his belt, the Brewers could technically control Jimenez through the 2018 campaign if he makes the team and establishes himself in their bullpen.
Both pitchers figure to compete for bullpen spots, though Capuano would probably be more in line for a long relief role, whereas Jimenez will hope to be deployed in similar fashion to the way in which he was used last season. The Brewers currently project to have only Will Smith in the bullpen as a left-handed option, so there’s certainly an opportunity to grab a spot for either player.