With his non-tender today, Jose Mijares' likely puts a lid on his Minnesota Twins career after 153.2 innings of up and down baseball. Well, his performance was more down than up recently, but the weight was always up. That's a cheap shot, but the club hasn't always been happy with how Mijares took care of himself.
Mijares debuted for the Twins with a cup of coffee in September of 2008, pitching in ten games between the 13th and the 30th. He was impressive, striking out just five but not issuing a single walk and allowing just three hits. Not all of his innings were junk, either. Gardenhire gave him a lot of opportunities in the seventh and eighth innings and he wasn't let down.
His strong September set the stage for '09, because although Mijares didn't go north with the team he was one of the first callups late in April. Philip Humber did make the Opening Day roster but was gone halfway through the month, and Mijares made his debut just weeks before Craig Breslow was sold too early. Mijares, meanwhile, became a dangerous set-up man while working along righty Matt Guerrier in front of Joe Nathan. He struck out 55 in 62.1 innings, posting a 2.34 ERA thanks in no small part to stranding 89% of his base runners.
2010 was much the same as 2009, with Mijares improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio but becoming a bit more hittable. He also spent a couple of stints on the disabled list, and as a result pitched in just 47 games for just 33.2 innings.
Then came last year. That's still fresh in many of our memories: an issue with his weight, another issue with his passport, an inability to hit the strike zone with any sense of regularity. Mijares made eight appearances to start the season without allowing a run, but he also walked five, beaned Nick Markakis, and needed 99 pitches to record 5.1 innings of work. All that, and he only allowed two hits. Mijares set the pace of the season in those eight games, missing the strike zone so badly that hitters didn't have to even think about putting the ball into play.
By the end of the year Mijares was in Gardy's doghouse permanently, and didn't see anything other than low-leverage situations from July 22 to September 7. He deserved his demotion. Mijares was ineffective, got into a public argument with Joe Mauer (which should have never happened because Gardy should have ordered an IBB), and for a guy whose off-field effort always appeared to be next to zero it was easy to see the writing on the wall.
In Mijares there's a talented bullpen arm waiting to get out. Unfortunately for him effort and execution weren't there this year, and both Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing are more than equipped to do exactly what Mijares did. And for less money.
Happy trails, Jose.