There’s a contingent of White Sox fans who are in favor of service time manipulation in regards to the team’s top prospect.
White Sox fans have been waiting a long time for a consistent winning team. After failing to surround a core of players that included Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton with decent talent, the team chose to rebuild after the 2016 season.
The Sox got some good returns by trading Sale and Eaton that offseason, but their biggest prize wasn’t received until last summer. After trading Quintana across town to the Cubs, the Sox got their crosstown rivals top prospect in Eloy Jimenez along with other players including Dylan Cease.
Since arriving in the Sox organization, Jimenez has been spectacular but this season he took his talents to another level. In 103 total games with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this year, Jimenez owns a .343/.389/.584 slash line to go along with an OPS of .973, 21 home runs and 74 RBIs.
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Although Jimenez missed time this season with various injuries, he’s remained healthy with the Knights since returning from the disabled list on July 15. The 21-year-old outfielder appears to be ready for MLB, but there are some Sox fans who would rather the team hold off on promoting him. Why? So the team can gain an extra year of team control.
You read that right. Some Sox fans are in favor of service time manipulation for the team’s best prospect. While there are many bright Sox fans who understand promoting Jimenez when rosters expand in September is the logical choice, there is a small contingent of people who believe holding Jimenez back will better serve the organization in the long run.
How does holding back a talented prospect in Jimenez until 2019 help the Sox? Sure, the Sox don’t have much to play for this season but Jimenez is clearly ready for MLB now. Just because the Cubs held Kris Bryant back until mid-April of 2015, doesn’t mean the Sox should do the same. Baseball is struggling to attract more casual viewers, and the Sox television ratings this season have been poor.
We’ve seen the excitement a promotion of a top prospect can generate as Michael Kopech‘s MLB debut was witnessed by over 23,000 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field on a Tuesday night. The Sox currently average 19,152 fans per game this season.
Jimenez is so ready for MLB that in his most recent game on Tuesday night, the Durham Bulls used a four-man outfield in the first inning just for him. It worked as he hit what could have been a double but it would turn into a highlight reel flyout by former Sox player Micah Johnson.
There’s no reason that any Sox fan should be clamoring for the team to delay the promotion of Jimenez until 2019. By holding back Jimenez, the Sox run the risk of jeopardizing their relationship with the talented slugger which could affect their possibility of signing him to a long-term contract.
The Sox appear to have a franchise changing prospect in Jimenez. Of course, there isn’t much to play for this season, but promoting Jimenez can bring some more excitement to the team before the end of 2018. Also, wouldn’t it be nice if Jimenez could play well in the final month of the season and help the Sox recruit some marquee free agents this upcoming offseason?