Eloy Jimenez crushed spring training last year, a precursor to crushing Double-A pitching and Triple-A pitching. So when he entered Cactus League play on Tuesday just 2-for-14 with five strikeouts, Jimenez had earned the benefit of the doubt when he chalked it up as a minor timing issue.
He took a step in the right direction against the Padres. He went 1-for-3 with a strikeout, but the other out was comebacker that caromed off the pitcher, and the hit was his first homer of the spring.
But even before he took Luis Perdomo deep, Jimenez was already on my radar for a play he made in left field an inning earlier. He ended the third inning by picking a sinking Ty France liner off the turf with a fine, honest diving effort:
That’s Jimenez’s lone web gem from the spring to my knowledge, but on the other side of the ledger, I haven’t seen or heard a discouraging word about Jimenez’s defense this spring. It’s not for a lack of attention from beat writers. They’ve been dutiful about logging even the mundane events:
- Chuck Garfien, March 3: “Eloy has made two solid catches in left field, battling the sun.”
- Daryl Van Schouwen, Feb. 27: “Eloy Jimenez has handled everything in left without incident.”
- James Fegan, Feb. 27: “Top of the third and … it’s good for Eloy to get all these game reps in throwing to the cutoff man.”
- Van Schouwen, Feb. 23: “Eloy Jimenez fielded his position in left, catching a routine fly and charging in on single with runner on second and up throwing, runner holding at third.”
From what I’ve seen, Jimenez isn’t going to threaten the center fielder by ranging into territory that isn’t his, but his reads and routes have been respectable, which is no small feat under the dreaded Arizona high skies. His defense wouldn’t warrant a mention in either respect had the White Sox not pinned their service-time manipulation on that premise last September.
If Jimenez doesn’t pick up the production, I could see the Sox shifting the onus to his offense, and that’d be more acceptable. The defense thing was always a sham. The same front office that converted Nicky Delmonico to outfield work by dropping him in front of the Green Monster and saying “good luck” can’t abruptly pivot to piousness without raising suspicion. It works as well for Rick Hahn as it does for Ray Lewis.
However, if Jimenez scuffles through the Cactus League season with an uncharacteristic amount of strikeouts and an average around .200, I could actually buy framing a season-starting assignment in Charlotte as beneficial. The expectations for Eloy are enormous, and the last thing the White Sox rebuild needs is another reason to call it off. If Hahn said, “We want him to find his timing, and then we can party,” OK.
But there are still nearly three weeks to reverse the flow. If Jimenez’s homer turns out to be the proverbial flipped switch, he lays waste to Cactus League pitching, and he continues looking competent in left field, are the Sox going to revert to the lie?
Kris Bryant, who filed a grievance against the Cubs for their service-time chicanery under similar circumstances, sympathized with Jimenez.
“I literally saw that the other day,” Bryant said about the tweets. “And that infuriated me. Stop promoting the guy if you know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s a total money grab on everybody’s side. You’re putting the kid in a tough situation too. He’s seeing all this stuff. He’s kind of getting excited about it because, ‘Oh, MLB’s posting stuff about me!’ But at the end of spring training, he’s probably not going to be in the major leagues until that certain date. I totally feel for them. I can see how it’s going to hurt them.”
It’s all gross, but it wouldn’t feel as dirty had the White Sox used the financial flexibility afforded by suppressing Jimenez to improve the team. They did not. In fact, Kenny Williams blamed as-of-yet unrealized salary trajectories for players like Jimenez as the reason they wouldn’t go all-in for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. That makes it uglier, and when an injury or a disappointing spring are the only things that can make it honest, it’s a possible nadir of fandom.
If you adhere to the categorical imperative, knowing we’re all in on the lie doesn’t make the lie any better. The real world is more flexible about truth, and the Sox had an opportunity to show what patience (and maybe a temporary, limited immorality) could yield by making a major investment in the product. After failing on that front, reverting to the delayed gratification kick should get more tenuous in the eyes of the other parties, if only out of self-protection. When everybody gets comfortable with one lie, it’s important to make sure others don’t sneak their way in.
If there’s one thing Rick/Kenny/Jerry are good at, it’s lying. For all their lies about not being able to afford Machado/Harper because they will have to pay their own in a few years, I’m fully expecting Eloy to walk after 6 years. Rick and Kenny, working on their 3rd rebuild by then, will say he’s just too expensive.
Somehow, Eloy hitting .200 in Spring Trianing is almost a victory for this franchise. An offseason of actively screwing up the MLB roster combined with a top 10 prospect list that has 50% of the guys on the Injury List makes Eloy just being alive seems worthy of a World Series parade.
It really does.
Jim, I’ve been a fan and follower of your writing for years. And, let me tell you, I’m loving your no-holds-barred wit of the past few weeks. You’re putting into honest words how we’re all feeling about this franchise, and I, for one, appreciate it. Keep up the great work.
So sick of these guys and their grievances, they are apart of one of the strongest unions in the country. If you are unhappy with MLB clubs doing what is best for themselves then next time a labor dispute comes up stick to your guns and demand the rules be changed. Until then, stfu
But grievances are how they go about doing that in the interim.
They have no standing imo. You agreed to be apart of a union, said union agreed to a labor deal with the owners. They have an expiration date on the current deal, bring up your grievances then and change the policy. It rings hollow to me to bitch about a contract your union agreed too.
If labor feels management is exploiting a loophole in bad faith, it makes sense to officially state objections and document it for future bargaining sessions.
More explicitly: operating in bad faith is itself breach of contract.
Bad faith is impossible to prove
Ownership can for any reason basically hold a player down, IE eloys defense. How can a player prove this to not be the case? Dont we have a few thousand examples of absolute cant miss prospects that have come up, proven not to be ready and then sent back down???
On the flip side, can ownership say a player is acting in bad faith when perhaps not playing when their trainers think he is ok? Can they say a player who didnt hustle out a grounder is not playing up to the faith of their contact???
These player vs owner, owner vs player debates have one way toward resolution and thats in the collective labor deal. Filing these grievances is a waste of time.
I cant believe I am defending owners in an off season that saw the worst two whiffs in whitesox history… i need a shower
Bad faith isn’t impossible to prove. The standard is a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jim already made the case: Jimenez, who has spent his entire career as an outfielder, wasn’t called up last season and will start this season in the minors to work on his defense. Delmonico was given a major league start at a notoriously difficult park after about 93 total innings in the outfield as a professional. The baseball reasons for Jimenez being in the minors don’t exist and the team can’t back up its affirmative defense.
They could simply say they wanted his lefty bat in the lineup for some reason…
How many of these cases have been won by the players?
They need a newly bargained deal.
tl;dr There isn’t really a public record for all grievances, this is new territory, and the point of the grievance isn’t necessarily to go to arbitration and win. Forcing a settlement is an acceptable outcome. So is taking the team through the discovery phase to procure evidence.
Historically, the players ended the reserve clause through a grievance, they forced settlements for multiple instances of collusion, and Viciedo got a partial pay out when he was cut after being tendered a contract. On the other hand, a player the Braves drafted but didn’t sign lost his bid to become a free agent, Bonds lost his grievance, A-Rod’s PED suspension wasn’t overturned and he negotiated a settlement for the HR bonus without filing a grievance.
And in the NFL, Kaepernick forced a massive settlement–likely to avoid evidence being made public.
In terms of a player filing for being held out until april 15th to buy his team an extra year of control, I count 0.
“Incomplete public record, new territory, winning not the only point.”
Bryant’s and Franco’s service time grievances are the only ones we know about and they’re still pending. One might say that’s pretty good evidence they aren’t baseless and wastes of time.
But hey, we should totally accept your argument that owners make the most of the contract while players twiddle their thumbs for the duration. Because that’s obviously the way to get leverage in negotiations
Until I see a team fined more then the money saved from sitting a guy two extra weeks to gain a full service year I remain highly skeptical.
Im all for a 25 man roster being the best 25 and what not, but the union knew what was in the contract.
A lot of guys could make the gripe they deserve to be up and are being manipulated. Player projection is an extremely hard thing to determine for all 30 teams, regardless of service time manipulation. Did Gordon Beckham have any more boxes to check off, no… but he came up and ultimately failed despite a brief hot rookie year.
Some guys are ready to play at 20 some at 25… and a lot in between, the sox brought up Kopech and screwed themselves out of a service year… Eloy they did the opposite not sure how an arbitrator can get inside the mind of an organization and prove intent .
Again, this can easily be addressed by one of the most powerful unions in the country. These players should be going after Tony Clark and the other heads of their union for signing a crap deal.
I’m just more confused by the idea that grievances — which seldom surface in conversation and haven’t impeded a player from taking the field and performing, or otherwise interrupted with business as usual — inspired such a diatribe to begin with.
@karkovice squad The Delmonico argument seems bad to me. There is—rightly so—a major difference in how teams handle Delmonicos and how they handle Eloys.
The team, unsurprisingly, isn’t as concerned with the development arc of minor-league free agents as they are hopefully cornerstone prospects. From the Delmonico case, it simply does not follow that the team does not care about the long-term defensive development of all prospects.
Like everyone else, I highly doubt the only reason Eloy is in AAA to work on his defense. But we should stop comparing this case to Delmonico. The two just aren’t that similar.
yeah, I agree on that one. They didn’t care if Delmonico could play defense or if he ever learned. Or maybe they don’t think he’ll ever learn to play passable d. But they surely believe all those things about Eloy.
“I’m sick of these players both using the collectively bargained mechanism for enforcing the contract and the players talking to the press about how teams are exploiting the agreement. They should shut up and strike in 2 years.”
It’s certainly an argument.
Then you should be fully on board for missing at least half a season in 2021.
The tell here is that the Sox and other teams have to come up with bullshit excuses for why elite prospects aren’t starting the season on Opening Day. If the contract didn’t create liability for gaming service time requirements, they’d just say “we’re going to call up Jimenez after he can’t accrue a full year.”
But that explanation would not only create solidarity among players when the next CBA gets negotiated, it would also give an easy win to Jimenez when arbitrating a grievance.
Instead we get explanations that use inconsistently applied standards.
It was Phil Sullivan reporting, so take it with a grain of salt, but somebody in the White Sox organization allegedly said that they weren’t bidding on Harper because they didn’t want to increase his price to the Phillies. That is saying the quiet part loud, collusion-wise, and I’m not sure why this organization deserves the benefit of the doubt on anything related to labor relations.
Harper wanted more than Manny. If they could not pull the trigger on 300 million, how are they going to find 330?
Remember, Jimmy, they were “actually offering more” than the winning offer.
Maybe they could have showed that to Harper.
Deliberately supressing service time IS breaking the rules. That’s why clubs keep coming up with these insane excuses. And also why the grievances being filed are totally valid.
Actually, Eloy is not part of the union.
Mood: The front office’s MO is gaslighting.
Can we please agree to stop misusing the word “gaslighting” as a smart-sounding way to say “lying”?
The White Sox are not trying to convince us that we’re insane. They’re just lying, incompetent buffoons.
Kiley McDaniel says early rumors have the Sox eyeing Andrew Vaughn and Kameron Misner at #3.
Just window shopping.
Hmm, Kam Misner, I’ll just throw this 21 year old outfielder on the pile.
Please place him gently on that pile, jimmy. It’s quite fragile.
21 and a half on draft day. with in a year, either way, of almost all of our outfield prospects
And Andrew Vaughn.
We have a first round pick that plays 3rd and should end up at 1st. A first round catcher that should end up at first. So let’s draft a first round 1st baseman, that can only play at 1st. Genius.
All of them as slow as molasses.
Would you trust Getz and crew with developing Abrams or Witt Jr?
Tim Anderson was pretty green. I’d take a chance on all that upside.
Something else Fangraphs said is Abrams is looking like he’s KC bound. So if we were forced to take Bobby Witt Jr, that’s a pill I could swallow.
Today at BA , Carlos Collazo said of Witt,
” his tools always stand out, whether that’s offensively, defensively, or on the bases. Personally, I still think he has the highest upside in the class.”
For myself, I see a Star player. Someone to build a team around.
If they believe Vaughn’s bat translates they would *have* to take him. 1.856 OPS in 10 games so far is outrageous. Small sample, probably playing terrible teams, ect.
Still that OPS is nuts in any context. Like I said if their scouts say the bat translates to MLB Pitching, I dont care that Collin and Burger are around.
Im starting to buy the Vaughn hype, he hit well in the Cape as well… if he continues on a big time tear I dont see a problem. Can never have to many middle order bats even if they log jam a bit at 1b/dh. Lets worry about having that problem when we actually have that problem.
I’ll have video of both from this weekend’s action.
Cal vs. LSU
Missouri vs. Northwestern
Both games on SEC Network or ESPN+
Chris Sale, Red Sox “Mutually Invested” In Extension… https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/03/chris-sale-red-sox-extension-talks-mutually-invested-rumors.html
Why does this feel like the saddest game of musical chairs ever, and the White Sox are going to find themselves sitting on the floor?
The sad part is this is a game of musical chairs and the White Sox are just choosing to sit on the floor.
Too real, man.
“We felt we put a strong effort into getting this chair, no question we wanted that chair for the last two music interludes. But at the same time, there’s a certain alacrity that’s expected, mutually, between chair and music, and us, and we just weren’t comfortable moving at that speed, not with our future commitments, from the chair perspective. And not every chair is a good fit, seat wise, despite enthusiasm from all corners, and, frankly, we expected that our grab for that chair was likely just going to make it harder for another chair grabber to get it, when they likely were already going to get it.”
“We’re frustrated, but we’re proud with the creativity of our effort, and felt we made an offer with a posterior that was potentially superior, in some ways.”
“We really showed our posterior this time.”
The White Sox ARE sitting on the floor already.
No I think they were on the floor. Now they have walked down to the basement.
Wherever they sit, they are eating paste.
Listening to the White Sox Talk Podcast has made me question what a podcast is.
They used to have people who would conduct those interviews, transcribe the most interesting parts and shape it into a story. Publishing them to an audio feed is probably more cost-effective.
Steven Wright gets 80 day for PED’s
When asked why, wright said,”If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before”
“Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it’s the scenic route.”
A knuckleball pitcher getting busted for this may actually be funnier than Castillo’s bicycling escapade.
Can’t blame the Sox. How can they spend money signing superstars and then have more money to sign all of their up and coming future Trouts, Betts, Kershaws, Verlanders, Bregmans etc ?
They’re gonna have a roster so full of all stars before you know it that they’ll barely have room for Eloy on the roster!
You know they always have a deep bench full of guys that would be starters on other teams. How could they afford that and pay Manny Machado market rate?
Sox fans expect too much.
Why would the Sox begin treating the public with respect and dignity now?