It’s official, Eloy Jimenez isn’t being promoted to the major leagues.
Eloy Jimenez wrapped up his season yesterday, and he will pack his bags to head to a new city. Unfortunately for even the most patient of White Sox fans, he is not packing for Chicago. Instead, Jimenez will likely take a quick break before heading out for winter ball. Rick Hahn told reporters (via Daryl Van Schouwen – and shoutout to another Daryl, regardless of spelling) it’s in “everyone’s best interest” to allow him to develop somewhere, or apparently anywhere else. White Sox fans have known for quite some time that Eloy Jimenez is ready for The Show, but we likely won’t welcome him until late April or early May 2019. No matter how you slice it, this is 100% due to service time concerns.
A business decision?
There is no way I can be convinced that this is anything more than service time manipulation. I know it’s not any kind of shortcoming offensively. The dude forced the Durham Bulls to defend him with four outfielders last week. What is this, a slow pitch softball league? I mean, go for it, it won’t matter how many defenders you’ve got in the outfield when he hits one in the seats! Is it legal to line up one or two guys in the bleachers? Defensively, he’s got some work to do. However, if you’re willing to watch Daniel Palka, Nicky Delmonico, and at times, Avisail Garcia look completely out of place in the outfield corners, Eloy shouldn’t be an issue.
By keeping Eloy Jimenez in the minors until the first three weeks of the 2019 season pass, the White Sox will gain an extra year of team control. This makes total sense from a business perspective. Fans, just like the front office, want to keep the window of contention open as long as possible. Keeping someone like Jimenez under team control not only keeps him secured on the team, but also pays him a more reasonable rate than if he had to be re-signed as a free agent.
His stardom will still be costly.
A more affordable Eloy means more payroll for big free agent splashes or acquiring expensive pieces during offseasons or at deadlines. I get it. Here’s the problem: this doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be cheaper. Sure, delaying service time guarantees Eloy Jimenez will play for the White Sox a year longer, barring anything bizarre. But, don’t forget our Northside neighbors did this with Kris Bryant.
The Cubs kept Bryant in the minors during a non-competitive year, delayed his promotion three weeks the next spring, and finally gave Cubs’ fans what they deserved. Bryant crushed everyone and everything immediately upon his arrival, but he was also awarded a record salary for first time arbitration-eligible players. Bryant is a beast and he is under team control, but he’s still making $10.85 million. That ties up some cap room. The delay does not necessarily equate to affordability.
Service time over experience: the right decision?
Don’t get me wrong, as expensive as Kris Bryant’s first trip through arbitration proved to be, I’d be absolutely thrilled with Eloy Jimenez producing at that level through his first few seasons. ROTY, MVP, playoffs, and a World Series? Sign me up.
The issue I have with this decision is we won’t truly know what kind of major-leaguer Eloy Jimenez is destined to be until he’s, I don’t know, actually playing in the major leagues! There is no true substitute for experience, and considering even superstar players tend to have trouble adjusting to the major leagues, the sooner, the better. Schedules, travel, pitching, adjustments to new players as more information becomes available, etc., can all wreak havoc on a rookie. Again, we won’t know until we see it and he experiences it. That’s not even considering the off chance he’s a bust and lifetime minor-leaguer. I feel bad even putting that one out in the atmosphere, but baseball is a funny, fickle game.
The White Sox should promote Eloy Jimenez this September for all interested parties. The fans deserve to see another cornerstone in this terribly long rebuilding season (although things have been improving in exciting fashion recently). We all want to see the future corner outfielder roaming the grass at Guaranteed Rate Field, even if he isn’t the most graceful or fleet-footed. We’ve dealt with Avi and Palk and Nicky for more than enough time. It’s not likely to get much worse.
Eloy deserves a chance to familiarize himself with The Show and get thrown into the fire of Major League Baseball. Giving him a chance at major league pitching now allows him to focus on what he really needs to work on during the offseason in preparation for 2019. The goal is for him to play defense for the White Sox, not the Charlotte Knights. Let’s get him used to his home field and a few other stadium’s dimensions over the last month of the season. Again, film and prep work is one thing. Experience is another.
Help Eloy Jimenez help you!
Lastly, the organization deserves to see the fruit of its labor. The front office has worked tirelessly to swing seemingly impossibly good deals to reset and rebuild. Is one more year of control and a little payroll really worth all those empty seats and potentially frustrating fans, or a player and/or agent? White Sox fans are (mostly) excited for the rebuild, and have stayed loyal and dedicated this season. We’ve all clamored for Eloy Jimenez to move to the Southside. Let’s reward them with a September call-up, yeah? A glimpse of the future in this last month as the seasons change?
I’m sure all members of the front office will read this, so to them I plea: free Eloy! Bring him up and let him play! An extra year of control on the backend might not matter if he gets some experience this year, anyway. Eloy might be just what we need to speed the rebuild up by a few months or a year. Sometimes, that guy is just what a team needs to turn the corner. Sing it with me: all we are saaaaayiiiiiing, is give E a chance!
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