Eloy Jiménez’s games played streak halted by injury streak

White Sox DH Eloy Jiménez
(Photo by Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)

Just when it appeared that we could watch Eloy Jiménez run hard through first base without fearing for his well being, he went and injured his groin during the first inning of the White Sox’s otherwise scintillating 8-1 victory over the Braves on Sunday.

Jiménez had played in 27 consecutive games, a veritable iron man streak by his standards. He hit .283/.309/.500 during that stretch before grounding into a double play in the first inning on Sunday, but now it sounds as though he’ll once again force the White Sox into staving off a stint on the injured list.

White Sox right fielder Eloy Jimenez left the team’s 8-1 victory Sunday against the Braves after the first inning because tightness in his left groin. He will be further evaluated Monday and might be out for four or five days, manager Pedro Grifol said.

‘‘He’ll get some tests done, and we’ll see,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘I wouldn’t expect him in the next few days, for sure, but I don’t want to jump the gun on anything. But right now, it doesn’t look good for the next four or five days. But we’ll see what comes of it [Monday].’’

I suppose the good news is that Grifol accurately assessed Jiménez’s timetable the last time he had one of these issues. He departed Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Yankees on June 8 with an issue below his left calf, and Grifol said Jiménez was “looking at 4-5 days.” Sure enough, he returned after four games to start the aforementioned streak of 27 starts.

Instead, Jiménez extended a streak of four straight months with some sort of physical issue, and only one of them can be considered an aberration. Prior to the groin injury on Sunday and the lower leg issue in June, he missed three weeks in May due to an appendectomy, and spent 10 days on the injured list with a hamstring strain in June.

Jiménez is a bad bet to set a career high in games played this season, which isn’t great since he set that mark with 122 back in his rookie season of 2019. Since then, he’s played in 55, 55 and 84 games, and he’s on pace for about 102 this time around. He’s going to make $13,833,333 next year, but the Sox have the option of buying him out for $3 million in each of the following two seasons.

It’s a little early to forecast whether Jiménez will be worth $16 million in 2025, but the buyout is worth keeping in the back of your mind in order to assess the kind of money the White Sox will shed over the next two years. The only meaningful obligations for that season:

  • Andrew Benintendi, $17.1 million
  • Luis Robert Jr., $15 million
  • Buyouts for Jiménez, Yoán Moncada and Aaron Bummer: $9.25 million
  • Dylan Cease’s final arbitration year
  • Andrew Vaughn’s second arbitration year

That’s something like $65 million, without any potential arbitration monsters looming. It’s pretty grim that the White Sox struck all those contract extensions, and only Robert is on track to make all the club options a no-brainer, but the silver lining is that the White Sox don’t exactly have to slash and burn their payroll in order to try again. It’s more or less going to resolve itself in fairly short order.

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As Cirensica

Since Eloy is in Rick Hahn’s “no trade list”, I guess the 2025 option will be exercised.

Eloy will be 27 years old this November. These are supposed to be his peak years. He is already a bad runner, and a bad fielder. That’s not going to get any better with the passage of time.

I keep thinking of David Ortiz. Big Papi early years were marred by injuries, and not being that great. The Twins got tired of waiting and released him (!). Could Eloy be another Ortiz? Their careers early goings are somewhat similar. However, Ortiz had the advantage of hitting left handed. The first time Ortiz played more than 130 games was when he was 28

Having said that, Ortiz hit the ball in the air significantly more than Eloy and that’s where the comparison dies. Eloy’s groundball ratio is ugly. Big Papi is elite. Even in his early struggles with the Twins, Big Papi put the ball in the air, and that’s kinda key for a slow slugger with no glove.

Last edited 10 months ago by As Cirensica
Augusto Barojas

I think Carlos Quentin is probably a much better bet for what Eloy’s career might look like than Ortiz. He’ll stick around MLB for a while and look good at times, but I doubt will ever look like he did in 2019/20 again. A shame.

Trooper Galactus

Quentin’s 2008 season was the most insanely unexpected performance I’ve ever seen out of a White Sox player; basically the position player equivalent of Loaiza’s 2003. If he hadn’t hurt himself he’d likely have won the AL MVP.

JazznFunk

Loaiza revered by all back of the rotation innings eaters. Also by Sox fans who appreciate his begetting Jose Contreras.

Foulkelore

With Eloy out, they’ll probably start Sheets at DH vs. RHP. If they play with a short roster again, this will leave them with a bench every day of 2 catchers and 1 additional player (usually Andrus if Remillard continues to get the majority of starts at 2B).

What the Sox should do: Put Eloy on the injured list and call up an outfielder*.
What the Sox could do: Play short but send down the third catcher, Perez, who they aren’t using much anyway and call up an outfielder*.
What the Sox will do: Play short with 3 catchers and just use Sheets and Remillard as extra “outfielders” when necessary.

*I suppose if Moncada becomes ready, they could also call him up instead of the extra outfielder, play him at 3B with Burger at DH, and still have Sheets as an extra “outfielder”.

roke1960

Whatever is done, Hahn will make the wrong decision. Of all the things he’s bad at, roster construction/management is his worst.

JazznFunk

If Moncada and Eloy are both healthy, where will they even play Burger? Are they thinking of 2B again?

Speaking of Burger, for Burger fans, he was interviewed at MLB studio today:
https://www.mlb.com/video/jake-burger-on-white-sox-season

Last edited 10 months ago by JazznFunk
Dennis

Leave Moncada where ever the heck he is, trade Eloy. Pretty much seen enough of those two. Play Colas in RF every day. Let him continue to develop with the plan that he’s the Sox RF for next 5 yrs. Play Burger at 3B every day. Find out if he’s the regular 3B for the rest of this next window or go back to Moncada or maybe promote Ramos, Kath, Montgomery – whomever is ready. Sheets, Grandal, Vaughn can take turns at DH for the rest of this season. Or Sox may get lucky at the trade deadline and pick up a bat to replace one of the above.

Augusto Barojas

Sounds good to me, Colas in RF and Burger at 3b the rest of the way. Add Sosa at 2b. Yoan has lost his job as far as I’m concerned, Burger has 20 homers. Yoan might not hit that many the next 3 years. If he is still even playing major league baseball by then.

I have real doubts that Colas is going to be a good every day RF, but they need to let him play the rest of this year and in 2024 to find out.

JazznFunk

I don’t know how his future offense will look, but Burger is the team’s second most productive hitter. And looking a little better after being in a funk. And reasonably athletic for this team. Yet, with 5 more years of team control, he is in the OK to trade group. That would irk me.

Last edited 10 months ago by JazznFunk
As Cirensica

One of the main reasons I like Burger more than Vaughn is that Burger’s main problem (strikeouts) can be improved with experience. If Burger manages to decrease his %K by a small margin, let’s say 5%, the way hit hits the ball (very hard), his WAR will get a significant bump. I think Burger has potential.

With Vaughn, there is little potential. This is it. He is a 0 to 1 WAR player. Maybe he will have one or two years with a WAR over 2. Many here compare him to Lyle Overbay. Well, we can always wish.

JazznFunk

I would have expected him to be in the conversation for 1B long term. Unless something physical – like his past achilles issues – would make playing 1B difficult. Either way, I don’t see that Vaughn should have a hold on the position.

Trooper Galactus

Unfortunately, the White Sox are trapped with Moncada, and nobody is more upset about it than they are because he’s about to become the first player in team history to crack the $20 million mark for a single season (and by a pretty considerable margin). There’s not a single team that would take him short of the White Sox covering most of his salary, which isn’t happening, because even then they’ll just get an already busted prospect as a “return”.

In a field of only bad options, they’ll most likely just have to stay the course and hope he is healthy and effective enough in 2024 to make himself attractive to another team before the deadline where he could actually command something in return. If he has another season like this, they’ll probably just have to DFA him and eat the loss, another Rick Hahn special on the books.

Rambler303

So infuriating.

gibby32

I predict that Moncada will be out of major league baseball after the 2024 season.

Augusto Barojas

You may prove to be right, I don’t think he’ll have a long career to be sure. I’m not sure anybody knows for sure if Yoan cares that much about baseball. I’ll always come back to his legendary twinkie eating binges, supposedly eating 80 per week years ago. That’s a serious red flag even if it sounds like a funny story. No human being without serious self esteem and psychological issues does that.

BenwithVen

I don’t know. People say this, but then I remember him playing through long COVID in 2020 and having to use an oxygen tank when he got to the dugout. I doubt he does that if he doesn’t care about baseball.

Augusto Barojas

That was also 2020. It’s now 2023. He may have cared then, and not now. Whether it’s apathy or not, he’s been basically absent the past season and a half in terms of being at any level of a productive player.

24M next year may be one of the biggest overpays in the history of the sport.

Last edited 10 months ago by Augusto Barojas
StockroomSnail

People that speculate about how much somebody cares or tries are ridiculous.

The word would get out if somebody was actually lazy. Teammates would chirp.

dat gummit

dude I think about that all the time – his first major press as a White Sox was about how he ate too many twinkies

shaggy65

Eloy’s bat is still worth a $14M option, even for a half season, but just barely. How has the team not mandated daily yoga classes for that guy?

Trooper Galactus

If Eloy were a free agent at this exact moment no team would offer him $14 million or even close to it.

Wayne

$14M sounds about right. In between Joey Gallo ($11M) and Bellinger ($17.5M). Hanniger got 3 years at $14.5M AAV. JD Martinez got $10M. Joc Pederson got the QO ($19.5M). So it could be less (8-10 M range) but it only takes 1 to push it up.

As Cirensica

All those players you cited are better than Eloy. And it is not even close.

HallofFrank

White Sox fans, man. That’s just not true. Just look up the numbers. Even if some of them are better, Eloy’s age and upside boost his value a lot (see: Bellinger, who got paid despite being trash for two straight years). Eloy is absolutely getting $14m in the open market.

As Cirensica

Just look up the numbers.

I looked up the numbers, and that’s why I said what I said.

Eloy is just potential energy. Everything is preceded by an ‘if’. That is Hahn’s playground.

HallofFrank

What in the numbers made you think 2022 Cody Bellinger (for example) was better than Eloy Jimenez? Was it the -0.5 WAR over the previous two seasons? Was it the .650 (or .540) OPS? Or was it the weak batted ball and high K%?

Augusto Barojas

Very true. I mean it is obvious that Eloy’s value has diminished, but his upside is way higher than Pederson at least. Pederson hasn’t posted a WAR over 2 since 2019. He would have to stay healthy, but Eloy could hit .290 with 35+ homers some year. His WAR last year was still 1.7 in 1/2 a season. I’m not an advocate for keeping him by any means, Eloy has many drawbacks and is as big an injury risk as there is. But with today’s salaries (which are out of control), I think he would easily get 14M. I think very little chance he would get less than that.

As Cirensica

but Eloy could hit .290 with 35+ homers some year.

could

Like I said, Eloy is a bag of ‘If’ and potential.

HallofFrank

Eloy is an above-average MLB hitter. That’s not “if” or potential. That’s what he is right now.

His value, yes, is partly tied to his potential. But guess what? MLB front offices pay for potential. So they should, when we’re talking about a 26-year-old with Eloy’s batted ball data.

As Cirensica

Eloy is an above average hitter and a below average player.

HallofFrank

Again, incorrect. Again, just look at the numbers. 2.4 WAR/162 games is not a below-average player. It’s an average-to-above-average player. None of this reflection around Eloy is based in reality. It’s based in frustration.

As Cirensica

He doesn’t play nowhere near 162 games per season. Your comparison doesn’t hold water.

Augusto Barojas

Eloy’s WAR last year was 1.7 in just 84 games. That was still higher than Joc Pederson’s in any season since 2019. That isn’t to say that Eloy is way better, but he certainly isn’t way worse than Pederson. Pederson is grossly overpaid at 19.5M, but that’s where baseball salaries are at.

Would it surprise anybody if Eloy went to a team like Boston and miraculously was healthier and started killing it at DH? Eloy most certainly would get at least 14M for that possibility, even if it isn’t super likely. I’m not even a fan of Eloy or saying the Sox shouldn’t trade him, only that his free agent market value isn’t way less than a completely mediocre player like Pederson. Frank is correct on this, and it’s only b/c baseball salaries are stupidly high.

HallofFrank

What comparison? I’m not comparing him to anyone. I’m telling you he’s an above average baseball player. That’s not an if or potential. It’s what he is right now. Yes, he’s injury prone. But he’s also 26.

Augusto Barojas

If Eloy actually hit .290 with 35 homers, he would be worth a lot more than 14M. 14M is reasonable for a guy with Eloy’s age, injury history, and upside. He’s 26, not 36 and on the downside of his career. I’m guessing he’d get 15M for 1 year, minimum, or 30M for 2. Might not work out, but might be a huge bargain if he went to a team with a great training staff that could actually keep him healthy for a change. He’s not high probability to stay healthy, but he is not way worse than Pederson/Gallo, I mean come on now.

As Cirensica

The first word of your comment said it all.

vanillablue

Let’s not go overboard here. Eloy is better and younger than Haniger and Pederson. Michael Conforto got $18M AAV at age 30 after missing an entire year and being barely above replacement level the year before that. Eloy would absolutely get $14M on the open market and picking up his option should be a no brainer even for the Sox.

HallofFrank

Yeah. Eloy’s at 2.4 WAR/162 games and an .822 OPS. I know the biggest knock on him is health, but teams are willing to take chances on guys (Conforto a notable recent example) with talent even if they’ve been injured. On top of all this, Eloy is 26. He’d probably get a multi-year deal at $14m AAV or more.

As Cirensica

I agree with Trooper, Eloy is not getting anything near 14M if he were a free agent now. Maybe 10M.

Augusto Barojas

Agreed. We’ll see what he does the rest of this year and 2024. Their options on him start in 2025/26, and he is set to make 16.5 and 18.5. If he doesn’t do well or stay healthy between now and the end of next year, and it’s more of the same (and the team loses close to 100 next year as I suspect), I think very possible that they don’t pick up his option.

He’s got to prove he can play more than 100 games, at some point, to justify much value.

a-t

I think they still pick up the option, lol. He’s a presently well above average bat with the potential (and recent past) to be a 140-150 wRC+ stud. There are not many of those guys around.

It’s also why Vaughn is staying around. For 1B/DH types, a 120 wRC+ is almost fungible, but a 140 wRC+ is a franchise cornerstone. Both those two are a little launch angle and pitch selectivity improvement away from that; that’s not like Sheets or Burger, whose flaws are such that 120ish wRC+ is probably their best case outcome.

StockroomSnail

The important thing is to be able to bail on your bad contracts, not signing good ones.