TEMPE, Ariz. – The White Sox have agreed to terms on a six-year, $43 million contract with outfielder Eloy Jiménez, plus two club options that could extend the deal through the 2026 season. This news, reported earlier in the week, was made official by the team on Friday near the end of its 5-4 Cactus League loss to the Angels.
Under terms of the contract, Jimenez will receive a $5 million bonus in addition to $1 million in 2019, $1.5 million in '20, $3.5 million in '21, $6.5 million in '22, $9.5 million in '23 and $13 million in '24. The White Sox hold options for $16.5 million in '25 and $18.5 million in '26, with $3 million buyouts for either season.
Jimenez and general manager Rick Hahn are scheduled to meet with the media on Saturday morning in Glendale, Ariz. But both issued statements about the deal in the team’s press release.
“My family and I are very happy and excited to sign this deal,” said Jimenez. “It gives us the opportunity to ensure our future, but more importantly, to reinforce my commitment to the White Sox organization. All of my effort, focus and desire is to help this team win multiple championships and bring joy to our fan base.”
“Eloy is a tremendously talented young player who has impressed us with his baseball skills, poise and maturity from the moment he joined the White Sox organization,” said Hahn. “We view him as an important member of the core we are building over the coming years, and so are pleased to have reached this long-term agreement to have him in a White Sox uniform for many seasons to come.”
The game’s No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has never had a Major League at-bat. But the expected fulcrum of this rebuild figures to be part of the White Sox Opening Day lineup on Thursday in Kansas City, a topic certain to be addressed on Saturday.
It’s rare for a player to sign a deal like this before his Major League debut, and Jimenez’s deal easily breaks a record for someone with no MLB service time. Phillies infielder Scott Kingery became the second to pull off the feat last March, inking a six-year, $24 million deal that also included three club options, and was worth $42 million. Kingery went on to struggle as a rookie in 2018, batting .226/.267/.338 over 147 games.
The only other such deal was signed by first baseman Jon Singleton, who agreed to a five-year, $10 million contract with the Astros in June 2014. Singleton wound up playing just 114 games in the Majors and posted a .621 OPS.
However, Jimenez’s prospect pedigree will give the White Sox confidence in his ability to handle the big leagues. The 6-foot-4 outfielder split 2018 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, batting a combined .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers in 108 games. He owns a .311/.359/.519 career slash line in the Minors.
The White Sox acquired Jimenez from the Cubs in July 2017, as part of the deal that sent pitcher Jose Quintana to the North Side of Chicago. He signed with the Cubs as a 16-year-old in 2013 for $2.8 million.
“The kid has come out and done everything we would have wanted in the spring," manager Rick Renteria said. "He’s trying to get his timing down in the Minor Leagues. Again, from everything that I’ve said and seen in the past, he's a pretty polished kid. He’s been pretty impressive. He’s impressed everybody in the organization, all the way down in the Minor Leagues, all the way to us. I don’t know if there’s anything more I can say about him. He’s got a lot to offer, and he’s still working on a lot of things. Hopefully we hammer those things out.”