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Jimenez's teammates enthusiastic about future

No. 3 prospect secures long-term deal with White Sox
@scottmerkin
March 22, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The upbeat attitude shown by Eloy Jiménez during a brief glimpse of the White Sox outfielder on Thursday at Camelback Ranch was very much akin to the same gregarious demeanor he has shown throughout Spring Training. And that steady temperament rates as one of many reasons why

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The upbeat attitude shown by Eloy Jiménez during a brief glimpse of the White Sox outfielder on Thursday at Camelback Ranch was very much akin to the same gregarious demeanor he has shown throughout Spring Training.

And that steady temperament rates as one of many reasons why Jimenez and the White Sox finalized a long-term extension on Friday, even without a single Major League at-bat on the phenom's resume. The pressure of living up to those increased expectations shouldn’t be an issue for Jimenez.

“He's in a more mature stage than I was,” said White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, who agreed on March 21, 2017, to a six-year, $25 million extension with two options potentially taking that deal to $51.5 million.

“He handled himself well,” Anderson added. “He's always been having the hype, so I think he gets it.”

Reaching the deal, which guarantees MLB Pipeline's overall No. 3 prospect $43 million over six seasons and includes two club options, provides payroll flexibility for the White Sox as they move forward in what they hope is an extended championship-caliber window. It also locks down another piece of the young core, following a path other rebuilding teams before them have traveled.

“Couldn’t happen to a better person,” Anderson said. “It shows the love they have for you, taking care of you at an early age, early in your career.

“For him to sign it means a lot from the organization’s standpoint to being more committed. They know what they want to do.”

There was no hesitation for Anderson in signing his long-term deal after 99 career games and 431 plate appearances in 2016. It was about taking care of his family, adding they love Chicago. He also wants to win with the White Sox and how much it means to him for the White Sox to see Anderson as part of that winning.

“I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Anderson said. “I’m already settled.”

When Jimenez addresses this new deal potentially taking him to age 30, he could echo a similar sentiment. Third baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed starter Reynaldo Lopez are other candidates for similar sort of extensions, but it’s the type of deal needing to make sense for the player and the team.

“I’m here just to play baseball, and if I take care of the things I am supposed to take care of, all that stuff is going to come on,” said Moncada, through interpreter Billy Russo, on a possible extension. “I don’t need to think about that. I need to think and be focused on my work. That’s the only thing I can control.”

Jimenez’s offensive prowess clearly was evident in 2018, featuring a slash line of .337/.384/.577, 22 home runs, 28 doubles and 75 RBIs between stops at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. The left fielder already was being talked about as a fulcrum of the rebuild, but this new deal elevates him as the face of the franchise as soon as Opening Day in Kansas City on March 28.

“We are all the face of the franchise because we are a team,” Moncada said.

Said Anderson, “Our ultimate goal is to win championships. So I think him signing early definitely shows he's all in on that.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.