The White Sox were once again in the spotlight this off-season. However, this time, it was for all the right reasons as the club reportedly agreed to a six-year, $43M guaranteed contract extension with their top prospect in Eloy Jimenez. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN.com, the deal includes two team options for the seventh and eighth year which would make the deal worth up to $77M if the team decides to exercise both options.
Eloy Jimenez’s deal with the Chicago White Sox will be for six years and $43 million, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. It will include a pair of club options and can max out around $77 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 20, 2019
This move occurred shortly after the team optioned Eloy back to Charlotte for where we thought he would be spending the first month or so to start the 2019 season. Now, you can cancel out Eloy spending time in Charlotte as he is likely to be with the Major League club moving forward. White Sox fans will not have to wait any longer to see Eloy Jimenez in action this year. And for Eloy, he doesn’t have to go to Charlotte to “work on his defense” to start the year.
The club has yet to confirm the extension, but this deal would give Eloy Jimenez the largest contract in MLB history for a player that has zero service time. You can count on one hand how many times you see a deal like this go down. Most recently, Scott Kingery and the Phillies signed a deal in a similar situation when they agreed to a six-year, $24M contract. The White Sox are definitely taking a risk here since Eloy hasn’t seen one pitch at the Major League level, but it’s a risk that I’m glad they were willing to take.
With these terms, the White Sox will have Eloy Jimenez under contract for an additional year than they would have if they followed the original plan and sent him to Charlotte to start the year. If Eloy reaches his ceiling (which I believe he will), then this deal is a pretty big bargain for the White Sox with the AAV being under $10M per season for the majority of the terms. However, if Eloy isn’t the player he’s projected to be, this deal still won’t cripple the White Sox financially and it gives them plenty of financial flexibility moving forward. It truly is a win-win deal for the club when you look at it from both perspectives.
It’s also a win for Eloy Jimenez who will now get to make his MLB debut sooner than he thought. Also, he now has the security in knowing he can make $43M guaranteed to start off his MLB career and he has the potential to earn up to $77M if all goes well. It’s safe to say that’s pretty good for a 22-year-old who hasn’t made his MLB debut yet. He won’t be making the league minimum throughout the early years of his career and he now gets to skip the arbitration process. There’s the possibility that he could’ve made more money in arbitration than he would through the team options, but arbitration can be a frustrating process for the player and Eloy will not have to go through that anymore.
It’s no secret that Eloy Jimenez has been MLB ready for quite some time. He clearly demonstrated that when he torched Triple-A pitching last season. After reaching Triple-A for the first time in his career, Eloy slashed .355/.399/.597 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 33 RBI’s, drew 14 walks, and only struck out 30 times in 55 games with the Charlotte Knights. It felt like Eloy “forced the issue” last season as Rick Hahn likes to say, and there was frequent speculation that he was going to be called up last September. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and when he was held down, White Sox fans realized it was all about gaining the extra control with Eloy and we wouldn’t see him until late April of this season.
To the surprise of many, that’s not going to be the case now as service time will no longer be an issue with Eloy Jimenez. As this contract is set to kick in, there’s officially no reason to keep him down in Triple-A and you can count on Eloy making his MLB debut on Opening Day. Not only is this a good move for the White Sox, but it’s also the right move. Eloy has been ready for quite some time and he now has a good chunk of guaranteed money heading into his pockets. Also, as I previously mentioned, this deal will not hurt the White Sox moving forward if all goes south. Prospects aren’t always guaranteed to be a “sure thing” when they hit the MLB, but Eloy Jimenez is as close to a “sure thing” as a prospect can be.
Get ready, White Sox fans. Eloy’s light-tower power is heading to the South Side very soon. While the White Sox might not be a super competitive team this year, we will at least get to see a major piece of the future play and develop throughout the entire year. This off-season has been dreadful for many reasons, however, it’s ending on a very positive note and White Sox fans will have a reason to tune in to as many games as they can. Eloy Jimenez has perennial All-Star potential and now, we will get to watch him everyday as he begins what should be a very exciting MLB career.
Oh, and here’s a little friendly reminder of the power that will be in the White Sox lineup:
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) June 20, 2017
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Feature Photo Credit: Sean Williams/The Loop Sports