General manager Rick Hahn is holding his ground.
He knows fans are clamoring to see top prospects Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech. He’s fully aware that the buzz increases with every home run Jimenez hits and every strikeout Kopech gets.
Yet Hahn still wants to see more before he promotes them to the South Side.
“The most important thing is that they’re in a position to have long-term success for us, that they’re in a position to succeed, not just survive,” Hahn said Friday before the White Sox opened a six-game homestand.
Meanwhile, Sox fans are left to wait and watch a struggling team.
Reynaldo Lopez surrendered two homers on his first three pitches and five overall, and the Sox were buried early by the Blue Jays in a 10-5 loss.
The game turned sour fast as manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper were ejected with no outs in the bottom of the first for arguing what they believed should’ve been a checked swing.
Almost 1,000 miles away, Jimenez continued to terrorize minor-league pitching. The 21-year-old outfielder finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, increasing his average to .372 (32-for-86) with seven doubles, six homers and 13 RBI in 23 games since his promotion to Class AAA Charlotte.
Meanwhile, Kopech, 22, has 24 strikeouts and two walks in his last three outings for the Knights after struggling with command earlier this year. He is 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA and has 135 strikeouts in 99„ innings.
“While you can look at a stat line or you can look at a box score and say, ‘This guy looks like he’s doing well, looks like he’s ready,’ our checklist that we want these guys to answer is a little more lengthy than that,” Hahn said. “And not until they’ve answered all those questions we have for them at the minor-league level will we promote them.”
What’s on the checklist? What more do they need to show?
“They know what’s on the list,” Hahn said. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you things our players can’t do.
“They’re both performing very well right now. The last three starts out of Kopech, two of them have been great, one of them has been real good. Eloy obviously in 10 games since he’s been off the DL has been on fire. A little bit longer résumé of consistency there will serve them both well.”
Last season, the Sox called up Yoan Moncada on July 19 after trading Todd Frazier to the Yankees. The trade cleared a spot for Moncada to play regularly and added three prospects.
Hahn said trading an outfielder was not a necessary precursor to promoting Jimenez.
The Sox shipped Joakim Soria to the Brewers on Thursday for two pitching prospects, but Hahn downplayed the likelihood for more moves before the trade deadline Tuesday.
“I don’t think it took anyone by a great surprise that we moved a guy who was in the final year of his contract,” Hahn said. “We’re still engaged on a few different fronts. But being that we don’t have any others who are similarly situated, there’s really no urgency to consummate anything else over the next few days.”
Nor is there an urgency to promote Jimenez or Kopech.
“It’s not going to be a function of any level of eagerness that fans or coaches or myself or the front office has,” Hahn said. “That’s not prudent for the long term. And one thing I can promise is that our focus is unwavering in terms of putting this organization in the best spot for the long term.”