The White Sox officially announced the long-term contract with Eloy Jimenez, the details of which were reported earlier this week.
The 22-year-old Jimenez received the richest contract ever for a minor league player who has yet to make his major league debut.
The team confirmed what was reported earlier in the week, that the deal is worth $43 million over six years with a pair of team options that could extend the contract through the 2026 season.
From the White Sox announcement:
"Under terms of the contract, Jimenez will receive a $5 million bonus in addition to $1 million in 2019, $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 White Sox hold options for $16.5 million in 2025 and $18.5 million in 2026, with $3 million buyouts for either season."
Should the White Sox eventually pick up both options, this deal has the potential to be the largest the franchise has ever handed out, surpassing the $68 million deal given to Jose Abreu ahead of the 2014 season.
The contract seems to be a smashing success for the White Sox, who despite taking on the risk of giving so much guaranteed money to a player yet to see a big league pitch, gain eight years of club control over the No. 3 prospect in the game and a player they believe can blossom into one of baseball's elite hitters.
Most notably, in the immediate, the deal wipes away the service-time conversation surrounding Jimenez and his eventual major league debut. Playing within the rules, the White Sox were expected to delay Jimenez's big league arrival long enough to prevent him from accruing a full season of major league service time. Though they never publicly said that was their intent, such an action would have given them an extra, seventh year of control on his rookie contract. This new contract throws the necessity for such a maneuver out the window and could allow Jimenez to make his major league debut on Opening Day next week in Kansas City.
But the deal is far less about having Jimenez in a White Sox uniform for the next six months than it is about having him a White Sox uniform for the next eight years. The long term of this deal could extend their planned contention window a year further, keeping the team in championship contention longer. Jimenez becomes the centerpiece of the entire rebuilding project, and the stars of the future can come up and grow with him into a a hoped-for perennial contender.
“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 the team's announcement. “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.”
“My family and I are very happy and excited to sign this deal,” Jimenez said in the announcement. “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.”
Now, it's time to watch the first year of that deal, a season in which Jimenez will be one of the favorites to win American League Rookie of the Year honors.
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