It’s official: White Sox announce Eloy Jimenez deal
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TEMPE, Ariz. — The White Sox on Friday announced their multiyear contract with outfielder Eloy Jimenez, a six-year, $43 million deal with two team options that could extend the pact through the 2026 season.
Jimenez, a skilled hitter who hasn’t played an inning in the majors but projects to be a star, will receive a $5 million bonus in addition to $1 million this season, $1.5 million in 2020, $3.5 million in 2021, $6.5 million in 2022, $9.5 million in 2023 and $13 million in 2024. The Sox hold options for $16.5 million in 2025 and $18.5 million in 2026, with $3 million buyouts for either season.
The total potential value of the deal, which first was reported Wednesday, is $75 million. The guaranteed $43 million is the most money given to prospect who hasn’t played in the majors. Jimenez’s debut might come Thursday, when the Sox play the Royals on Opening Day in Kansas City, Missouri.
‘‘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,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. ‘‘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.’’
Jimenez played briefly in a minor-league game at the Sox’ complex early Friday. When he was finished, he was seen walking past his future teammates, who were working out on a different field. Jimenez has been receiving congratulatory handshakes and hugs from teammates since Thursday, and Sox players waved and shouted more congratulations when they noticed him walking by. Jimenez waved back.
Jimenez and Hahn will talk at a news conference Saturday at the Sox’ complex.
‘‘My family and I are very happy and excited to sign this deal,’’ Jimenez said in a statement. ‘‘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.’’
Acquired in a trade with top pitching prospect Dylan Cease and two other prospects from the Cubs for left-hander Jose Quintana in July 2017, Jimenez is ranked No. 3 among prospects in baseball. He combined to hit .337/.384/.577 with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, 75 RBI and a .961 OPS in 108 games between Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte last season.
NOTES: Manager Rick Renteria said Alex Colome will be his closer. The decision was expected but hadn’t been announced.
• The Sox released outfielder Brandon Guyer, whom they signed to a minor-league contract Feb. 5 with an invitation to spring training and a chance to earn $1.6 million if he made the 40-man roster.
Guyer had a sore right (throwing) elbow early in camp and batted .217. The expected big-league arrival of Eloy Jimenez also made Guyer expendable.
• Catcher Welington Castillo (sore lower back) and outfielder Jon Jay (sore hip), the expected leadoff man in most of Renteria’s lineups, took at-bats in a minor-league game. Jay has downplayed the magnitude of his injury, but he hasn’t played in nine days.
‘‘I anticipate they’ll be available for us [Saturday],’’ Renteria said.
• Infielder Alcides Escobar was signed to a minor-league contract and will be in minor-league camp Monday. Escobar, 32, who spent the last eight seasons with the Royals, is expected to start the season at Class AAA Charlotte.
• Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez officially was tabbed as the starter for the Sox’ second game next Saturday in Kansas City. Right-hander Ivan Nova likely will start the third game, although Renteria didn’t make that official.