As Kim Ng was announced as the first female general manager in baseball history in mid November, many people critiqued the deal, saying that she was unfit for the position, which is a statement that we will see is true or not in the coming months. But one thing is for sure, she did have the qualifications for the position, and is a great moment for women in sports, and picking the right person for the job, regardless of any preexisting stigmas surrounding them.
Ng made her first move as her tenure of the GM of the Miami Marlins four days ago, trading for the recently DFA’d Adam Cimber from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. Cimber is a specialty pitcher, having an average fastball velocity of about 85 miles per hour, and coming from a sidearm arm slot, he is not the pitcher that will make or break your bullpen, but he is a solid piece.
People in Cleveland have been clamoring over the fact that they DFA’d Cimber, as they saw his time in Cleveland as a disappointment, finishing with a 4.16 ERA through his two and a half seasons with the club, but there is some interesting information about Cimber moving forward for Ng’s Marlins. Cimber’s specialty is keeping the ball out of the air and making the hitters pound the ball into the ground. Which was working well for him during his time with the Indians in 2020, as he averaged a 52.4 ground ball percentage. The one thing that changed drastically for Cimber from his successful season with the Padres back in 2018 and now, was him completely reducing the amount of sinkers he threw, and instead relying more on his slider. Back in 2018, Cimber threw his sinker roughly 44 percent of the time, and he saw that number be cut in half to 22 percent of the time in 2020. And while his sinker will not strike anybody out, it is another pitch the batter must stay aware of, and when he began to throw it less, the hitters were sitting at a 50/50 with a guy who does not throw hard, which is basically an unwinnable situation.
With this being said, Cimber was also a recipient of bad luck during his tenure as an Indian, as he saw his ERA stay between 3.90 and 4.50 during his time, but his xERA, which measure the expectancy of a ball becoming a hit, saying he pitched much better. In 2018 his ERA in Cleveland was 4.05, but xERA says it should have been more along the lines of 2.61. And in 2020, his ERA was 3.97, but his xERA says it should have been around 2.99.
With the Marlins bullpen losing a couple of big pieces, notably Brad Boxberger, and bringing back a group consisting of Richard Bleier, James Hoyt, Braxton Garrett and Yimi Garcia, this group is going to need a great deal of help to see even close to the same level of success the Marlins sustained last season. Cimber fits perfectly into the role of ground ball specialist in Miami, and will provide valuable innings for a team trying to prove they are not a one hit wonder in 2021.
Good find Mrs. GM.