Eloy Jimenez could be a boost or trade candidate for the White Sox

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox have not looked like a team ready to contend for a playoff spot, let alone a World Series title as the season creeps closer to the All-Star break.

They are in need of something to get them on a roll. They are hoping that a spark can come from a player who was counted on to be a big part of the lineup but has spent far too much time on the injury list.

In 11 games this season, outfielder Eloy Jimenez put up a slash line of .222/.256/.333 with a home run and seven RBI before going on the injured list with a torn hamstring tendon back in April.

The Sox had hoped Jimenez would provide offensive power to the lineup following a 2021 campaign that saw him play in only 55 games after spending significant time on the sidelines due to injury.

However, the hamstring injury has set Jimenez back and if the team still thinks he can get back to the being player who won a Silver Slugger Award in 2020, they have to hope he heals up quickly and finds his batting stroke. Jimenez has been down with the White Sox Triple-A Charlotte Knights rehabbing from his injury.

The Chicago White Sox are hoping to get Eloy Jimenez back really soon.

After pausing his rehab several weeks ago due to what White Sox general manager Rick Hahn called “normal leg soreness”, the team decided to take a cautious approach to get Jimenez back to full strength by having him not play the field and just serve as the designated hitter.

There has been no indication from Hahn as to when Jimenez might be able to join the parent club but if his current production with the Knights is any indication as to where he is at in his rehab, it might be a while before White Sox fans see him at Guaranteed Rate Field.

On the plus side, Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights on June 29th in a game in which he scored two runs while recording a walk and a strikeout. The problem is that Jimenez is hitting a lowly .196 with an on-base percentage of .256 and an OPS of .506.

Those numbers do not exactly instill confidence that Jimenez is on-track to be back soon and providing some sorely needed offense.

But it’s not just the numbers that will help Hahn determine when to call Jimenez up. He has to see how healthy he is and how available he will be going forward. Hahn told reporters in early June:

"“We expect that he’s going to feel this, from time to time, over the course of the remainder of this season,” Hahn said. “But over time, it should not cost him extra time, once active.This isn’t the kind of thing we foresee flaring up and, ‘OK, we’ve got to sit Eloy for five days.’ This is more a matter of, not to venture too far out of my lane, but as the scar tissue breaks, those become a little bit fewer and farther between over time.And the early ones are sort of more significant in terms of how they feel and how the player reacts.”"

Jimenez has proven to be injury-prone and that is a problem. He has great potential but if he has trouble staying on the field, Hahn might have to make a decision about what to do about Jimenez going forward.

With the White Sox trailing both the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central, the next two weeks could help determine if the Sox will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Depending on which way they want to go, could Jimenez be a player involved in a deal?

Jimenez’s injury history is a concern but he is still a young player (25 years old) with two years remaining on his contract. That combined with his offensive potential could be the type of thing that helps the White Sox get a good value in return.

The emergence of Andrew Vaughn and the play of AJ Pollock has capably offset the loss of Jimenez, thus making it a possibility of his being moved. It takes two to tango and Hahn would have to find a trading partner who could provide a fair package if a deal was to happen.

First things first, the White Sox has to take care of business on the field. They are within striking distance of Minnesota and Cleveland but need to play much better to catch up to both of them.

Jimenez could be a factor in making that happen. Whether that’s with the White Sox or another team remains to be seen.

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