Should all the ink dry on Eloy Jimenez’s reported six-to-eight-year contract extension, the White Sox will have solved one of their two biggest problems entering the season.
They’ll no longer be running out an Opening Day roster to paying customers that’s worse than it has to be.
Service-time debates are gross, especially ones that drag out over months and different calendars. It’s one thing when a GM delivers BS with a wink and a smirk to get past a two- or three-week threshold. It’s another when The Lie becomes the dominant story line, and fans treat stomaching long-running deception and a worse product as a badge of savviness to lord over other fans who have the gall to seek entertainment from their entertainment.
That’s over, and while Jimenez might’ve had to forsake some money in order to get called up on Opening Day instead of weathering more time in the waiting room, he set a precedent for players without a day of service time, and by a significant cushion.
(There is the possibility that Jimenez won’t break camp with the Sox on Opening Day because he was already optioned to the minors, but the Sox might be able to use or fudge an injury to get him on an MLB roster before the customary waiting period.)
Jimenez doesn’t have a whole lot of comps with this contract, but he blows away the ones we’ve known about, whether in terms of guaranteed dollars or max value. Scott Kingery agreed to six years and $24 million, maxing out at $66 over nine years if three options are extended. George Springer rejected a seven-year, $23 million contract under similar roster pressure and was smart to do so, because he’ll make $24 million over his last two arbitration years.
While Jimenez’s deal will be a bargain if he meets his potential, it doesn’t immediately resemble outright theft akin to Chris Sale’s extension. If he signed for Kingery’s deal, sure. That’s basically Tim Anderson’s contract, and while the Sox are still waiting on Anderson to put his game together, his ups and downs really don’t affect their bottom line.
Jimenez’s deal … could. We’ve seen the White Sox get blocked in previous winters by $12 million for Adam LaRoche, and we saw them pull up short on Manny Machado because of the potential of future obligations. This spring’s numbers aside, Jimenez should be a force. Yet between his injuries and his defensive limitations, one should acknowledge the chance that Jimenez’s career ends up on the ordinary side, and the Sox don’t fare so well when carrying ordinary players getting paid eight figures.
Connecting Jimenez and LaRoche shows you just how thoroughly the White Sox have infected my joy receptors over the years. The Sox are highly proficient in making everything more difficult than it has to be, and their half-hearted pursuit of Machado shows they lack the imagination to think they could ever transcend the restraints they place upon themselves.
Jimenez is the kind of player who can reframe the rebuild — and thus the franchise — by himself, which is why I wanted him up for that half-season last year. If he exploded upon the scene last year like Juan Soto or Ronald Acuña Jr., perhaps Jerry Reinsdorf could have been more convinced that Machado gets the Sox all the closer to contention. With Jimenez’s talents still largely unknown, any immediate leap was still wholly speculative.
The free agents are missing — and shouldn’t ever be counted upon — but Jimenez’s potential impact and the way it dictates the future remains. If he hits and the White Sox roster falls into place behind him, they could terrorize the AL Central for the foreseeable future and they should never carry a sub-$100 million payroll again. If Jimenez and the rest of the roster never quite materialize, Rick Hahn can tear it all down and start Rebuild No. 3, with Kenny Williams around to get 90 percent of the blame. Jimenez’s extension is great for the books, but I don’t think it changes the potential courses of the franchise any by itself. Everything was already going to be settled within the six years of his initial team control.
If all goes well, Jimenez’s cost certainty will merely protect the Sox against their worst tendencies. As Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton show, great contracts alone can only do so much. Still, after two years without players of Sale’s caliber, Jimenez gives Sox fans a reason to watch again. Whether those Sox fans have the highest of hopes of Jimenez or are prepared for the worst, everybody should agree that it’s time to know what we’re really looking at.
This might sound like the White Sox making excuses. But have you seen Michael Reinsdorf try to give a press conference? That man clearly needs every inheritance dollar he can get.
Outstanding, thank you. This has been the worst part of the CBA and the rebuild (anybody’s rebuild).
That line was PERFECT.
Came here to agree. Couldn’t have hit the nail on the head more squarely.
I love Sox Machine, Jim, Josh, and the Crew.
That said, I find stuff like this disingenuous. All Jim is doing is taking the opposite side of the very same coin he is insulting by being so ruthless about it.
As in most cases I find the case to be somewhere in the Middle. Jim is attacking some people lke me simply because I um not insulted by the Org’s choice to mess with Eloys Service Time.
To be absolutely clear – I dont like it either, and I’ve never treated it as “a badge of savviness to lord over other fans.” It makes me feel gross too but that doesn’t mean I have to put the org, and more importantly OTHER FANS, On blast for it. I basically view it as an “it is what it is” situation.
I find the quote we’re talking about from Jim to be even more petty and insulting then the very people he is shaming.
You want to have as least one aspect of the team to grasp onto. You want to justify you allegiance. You want to believe they’re squeezing out all this “savvy” to convert into success later. You really want to believe your leadership isn’t a clown car of cheapskates.
This does not spark joy.
It should. Granted, it doesn’t counter the narrative the White Sox built up this offseason, but it is something to feel good about. I feel happy for Jimenez that he got paid. I feel happy that the White Sox assumed a modicum of financial risk to lock up a potential superstar long-term. I’m happy that the ownership was willing to financially establish a new trend, even if there is a bit of an undercurrent of cheapness about it. We can bitch about the surrounding circumstances all we want (and many of the points raised are valid), but at the end of the day this is a good thing for Eloy, the team, and the fans all at once.
It looks like Kelvin Herrera will start the season on the DL. Can the Sox use that spot to bring Jimenez back up for opening day?
I was wondering that or if they could still add Delmonico to the DL retroactively for the concussion?
Would you look at that? Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to guarantee $18m to a reliever who was injured last year and hasn’t been good in three years.
Especially since they weren’t going to do anything to make this team competitive in the first year.
Especially since they probably won’t be competitive next year either
Calm down, he’s just out for a couple weeks to start the season. It’s probably good if it allows them to place Eloy on the opening day roster.
Kudos, a week before the first season of a two year deal is an impressive victory lap, even for an internet message board.
Kiley McDaniel posted the FanGraphs take, and he had a similar conclusion: Both sides did well, and the circumstances are gross.
“The circumstances are gross” describes just about everything in 2019.
Well… it’s only March.
Rollover grossness from 2018.
I really appreciate the no bs attitudes at FG.
They’re Zack Collins level crushing it over there.
An excellent flyer from you that a quality half-season debut by Eloy in 2018 might have encouraged the club to spend what it takes to land Machado this year. If the mooted contracts numbers are to be believed, the White Sox were in shouting distance of getting the Machado deal done.
Does 250 PA (adjust as needed) .280/.380/.420 convince them to make up the margin in their second-best offer to Machado? Maybe. It’s a great speculative point to raise, Jim. I can only speak for myself but that scenario would have made at least one fan a helluva lot more favorably disposed toward current ownership.
Nobody expects to win every year, but it sure is tiresome expecting every season to be a losing one. ‘Hope’ is a substantial part of what every team sells its fans, and even that’s in dwindling supply on the South Side.
If Eloy slugged .420 in a half season in 2018 that probably would have discouraged them from spending, if anything. An .800 OPS for a defensively limited corner outfielder will net a 2-win player if you’re lucky.
“adjust as needed”
I spent two seconds writing that slash line without worrying about it. By all means, hold me to it. I was shooting for ~.800 OPS though however it brike down.
What would it have taken to show the Sox that Eloy was a quality major leaguer? He would be expected to be better in his first full year than his debut, and in his second full year over his first. What would it have taken from him to convince the FO to spend what was necessary to add Machado this off-season as they almost, nearly, not-quite did?
To be fair, you might have missed the caveat which got added as an edit.
I just meant that if there was an alternate reality where Eloy’s performance prompted Jerry to pull out over 300 million stops to get Machado, it wasn’t gonna be a world where Eloy had an .800 OPS.
To argue against myself somewhat, that the Sox were willing to give Eloy the contract they did even without seeing him in the majors hints that an .800 patial-season debut probably wouldn’t have moved the needle much — one way or the other — from what they already expected. That’s where my question lies.
Personally, I think it’s pointless to speculate what events would have caused an irrational and inept front office to do.
Eloy, I assume comes from a poor family. I’m sure he’s sending money home to mom. This deal should send money to where it is most needed. To me, that’s great news.
Probably shouldn’t assume that. He also got a $2.8M contract when he was 16, so I would think that made things fairly comfortable for Eloy and his family.
When I first worked in Restaurants, I had the register. The bus guys would come at the end of shift, and ask for large bills.
I found out they would send home paperbacks and put the bills in the pages.
While this is “great” and all… this doesn’t change much of anything. The rebuild is a mess right now and all this really did was save them a few million in 2022-2025… okay? Yay?
I’m glad Eloy got paid for his sake, but this is more of the Sox saving a few bucks than they won’t spend down the line. And they can’t really go to the fans and say “but we will” when history shows that since 1997, they will not spend what it takes.
If anything, Eloy should have bet on himself here as he probably left a lot of money on the table if he preforms to the level we all hope he does. Why anyone would want to spend an extra year with this organization, as currently run, beats the hell out of me.
But kudos to the Sox for not getting bad coverage for a day. I’m sure that will stop the bleeding.
If Eloy is perennially injured or winds up being another Viciedo, this absolutely doesn’t save them a few bucks. Yes, we assume they’re getting value, but there’s some pretty significant risk baked in for them.
Another day, another big extension or two. Goldschmidt now off the market. I think most position players will be willing to sign extensions at least until a new CBA. More great planning by the idiots that run the Sox.
Free agency is mortally wounded. Players seem to try to avoid it. Extensions are in vogue.
Maybe now that Eloy will be here longterm, the Rich King’s and Harry Teinowitz’s of the world will stop taking time to say how important is to pronounce Eloy’s first name right, and start listening to Eloy himself telling people his last name is he-MEN-ezz not him-in-ezz.
Timmy with a routine grounder right through the wickets.
Ride with us or get on base via the E-6?
The pronunciation I have heard more is HE-men-nez. Remember Hector Gimenez? A catcher the White Sox had very briefly? They always said HE-men-nez. Correct way is he-MEN-nez
Yep. It’s the MIHN not the MEN that I keep hearing and have heard Eloy himself multiple times point out that’s the mispronunciation that bugs him – more than the way people say his first name.
I’m happy to call him God.
Eloy, Eloy, lama sabachthani?
And to the White Sox front office: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Leury is having a great spring. I think he should lead off and play center.
Take a peek at the 20-21 free agent class. Straight trash. The Sox have bungled this rebuild so badly its unreal. It all rests on the prospects. I have zero faith in them bettering the team with any free agents. Their drafting has also sucked so it’s basically up to the guys who have come via trade to get to the playoffs in spite of those jackasses running the team
Yeah, and while it’s nice to have a solid pipeline of talent to deal from, the guys doing it are the same ones who traded good talent for a crappy season of Smarch and the broken remnants of James Shields.
It seems the only things this front office has been good at has been signing good young players to team friendly contracts, then trading those players to get younger talent. They have shown no ability to acquire proven major league talent. So, as far as this rebuild goes, the things they suck at are what’s left to be done to make this team a winner. We’re doomed.