It seems like I could do an Eloy Jimenez update/starting pitcher extension dual post just about every blessed day. Today’s version:
As Eloy Jimenez struggled under service-time manipulation, it briefly brought to mind Matt Davidson’s first spring with the Sox. Davidson raked in the Cactus League that year, and his first cup of coffee with the Diamondbacks suggested he could open the season in Chicago. The Sox sent him down to Charlotte, where he unraveled and needed three seasons to make his way back to the majors.
After Jimenez signed his extension, it briefly brought to mind the ugly spring Jose Quintana endured before signing his life-changing deal. However poorly Jimenez fared, it doesn’t quite compare to Quintana’s 30.00 ERA at the time.
James Fegan’s account of Jimenez’s press conference says Jimenez admitted to pressing under the circumstances:
He admitted the pressure of negotiating for $43 million guaranteed got to his play a little — the same way it affected José Quintana five years ago — but he wants to get back to the player who seemed not just able to slow down the hype, but comfortable whipping it up.
‘I’m not going to put pressure on me,’ Eloy said. ‘I’m just going to be Eloy. I’m going to play hard and win a couple of championships.’
Hopefully Jimenez proves every bit the bargain as the guy for whom he was traded. He’s on the way to making the story line as tidy as possible, going 3-for-3 with his first walk of the spring upon his return to big-league camp.
Theoretically, Jimenez wouldn’t be allowed to surface in the MLB lineup until 10 days into the season since the Sox already optioned him to Charlotte, but he can get back on the Opening Day roster with an injury to somebody else.
Having come off a recent concussion, Nicky Delmonico appeared to be the likeliest option, but the Sox optioned him to Charlotte on Saturday. That said, the Sox still have a few ways they can go:
*Jon Jay: He’s been inactive for 11 days due to a hip issue. Rick Renteria supposedly would be surprised if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, but maybe he’s selling the misdirection.
*Daniel Palka: He’s 4-for-32 with four walks and 15 strikeouts since returning from a tweaked hamstring, so his ticket might be stamped for Charlotte regardless.
*Nate Jones or Kelvin Herrera: Both are throwing with reduced velocity, which warrants monitoring. Herrera’s is less concerning at the outset, as he’s working his way back from foot surgery and he’s been mildly effective. Jones, on the other hand, is giving up loud contact just about every time out.
While the White Sox normally prefer carrying eight relievers, they have off days on three of the first eight days of the season, and four of their first 14.
All the extended pitchers
Justin Verlander joined Chris Sale in removing himself from next year’s free agent block, signing a two-year, $66 million extension with the Astros. Unlike the other extensions recently brokered, this one doesn’t get him past 2021 and the expiration of the CBA, but Verlander will be 39 at that point, so that might be year-to-year territory regardless of the health of the open market.
Sale’s five-year, $145 million extension with the Red Sox is official. The structure is front-loaded, and there’s some money deferred to lower the average annual value to $25.6 million, perhaps in an attempt to keep Mookie Betts and/or Xander Bogaerts in the fold. The structure:
- 2020: $30 million
- 2021: $30 million
- 2022: $30 million (opt-out after season)
- 2023: $27.5 million
- 2024: $27.5 million
Sale might’ve been able to do better, but he also threw just 158 regular-season innings with significant swings in his velocity in 2019. Had he reached free agency after the season, he might’ve been the subject of rather hard bargaining, so doubling his previous high salary might be the path of less resistance.
To his credit, his salary has never seemed to bother him before, and he seems to like training in Florida:
‘For me, living at my house for two extra months, picking my son up from school — I’ve made it to all of his practices for little league,’ said Sale. ‘He has 14 games, I’ve been able to see six of them. I was supposed to be able to see the one today, but I got pushed back, so I’ve got to pitch. We’re going to pitch on the same day, so that’s pretty cool.
‘I have two sons and got another baby coming, so I want to be around my family. I want to be down here. This is where I live, this is where I went to school, this is where I’ve kind of established my life. For me, that’s the best possible deal. In terms of money, it is what it is.’
Chris Sale is one of the best players we ever had, I am happy he got paid and won a ring.
In the spirit of opening week, here’s a nice optimistic piece from Forbes Magazine anticipating a breakout year for Moncada.
It’s nice that he’s gotten his strikeouts down to 25% this spring after starting out with a ton. And he has almost as many walks as strikeouts. Of course it’s spring training and he’s basically been facing AAA pitching.
Hey, he had a strikeout rate of 28% when he was in Triple-A, so it’s still an improvement!
“This rebuild doesn’t come down to one player” Then right after that tier 1 free agents galore begin to sign and extend contracts. Hahn is like a walking talking contrarian indicator.
Damn good reasoning from Sale. Nice to see his head on straight.
“In terms of money, it is what it is”
What it is is $145M for pitching a baseball (damn well, of course). Even if his arm falls off.
I guess one can live with that
`unless gas prices keep rising