Eloy Jimenez
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White Sox don’t even try to hide what they did with Eloy Jimenez

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Eloy Jimenez, you likely know, is the top prospect in the White Sox’ system. He was just also named to the White Sox’ Opening Day roster. That’s great for him. It’s great for White Sox fans. But Lord Almighty did the path for him to get there stink to high heavens.

To review:

  • Last summer, Jimenez hit .337/.384/.577 across Double-A and Triple-A despite being younger than most players in both of those leagues. He actually did better at Triple-A than Double-A;
  • In September, the White Sox declined to call him up when rosters expanded. When asked why, Sox GM Rick Hahn talked about how all “boxes” need to be checked for a prospect to get a promotion. That the stat line is not enough. He said “our checklist that we want these guys to answer is a little more lengthy than that . . . and not until they’ve answered all those questions we have for them at the minor-league level will we promote them”;
  • Because there are no games at the minor league level in September, Jimenez did not get a chance to check any more boxes, of course. He did play eight games in the Dominican Winter League, but that’s not a White Sox development tool. That’s its own thing;
  • Jimenez came to camp this spring and made only 26 spring plate appearances. He was nonetheless sent down to minor league camp on March 13 where Manager Rick Renteria said he would “continue to work on his defense.”
  • Exactly seven days later the White Sox announced that they were giving Jimenez a six-year deal for $43 million;
  • Exactly six days after that, the White Sox announced that Jimenez would make the big league Opening Day roster.

I suppose it’s possible that Jimenez experienced a vast improvement in his defensive abilities and/or checked a certain number of boxes in those few days. However, to paraphrase a Twitter correspondent of mine, it would seem that the biggest thing Jimenez needed to work on was his ability to accept a contract offer which would not allow him to reach arbitration or to reach free agency on a schedule that would cost the White Sox real money. Once cost certainty was achieved — at a cost that is far, far less than Jimenez would’ve likely made had he gone through arbitration and reached free agency in the minimum six years — he was, magically, a much better player.

As we’ve discussed many times here, teams are not exactly great at hiding it when they manipulate a guy’s service time and/or use his lack of leverage against him, but this is the most transparent example of this I can ever recall. The sole criteria for cutting him from big league camp on March 13 was that putting him on the big league roster would start his arbitration and free agency clock. With that consideration removed by virtue of the extraordinarily team-friendly contract to which Jimenez agreed, he was suddenly big league ready. Amazing.

This is rotten as all get-out. Many of you will say things like “hey, that’s just good business sense by the Sox,” but it’s not that simple. Contrary to popular belief, teams are not allowed to manipulate service time like they did here. If they were, they would not tell the laughable lies they do about a guy “working on his defense.” They tell such lies because they are prohibited from making those sorts of decisions solely to save money. If it was allowable for them to manipulate service time you can bet your life that they would crow about doing so, because executives like to crow about doing smart things. They tell the “he needs to work on his defense” lies because they have to to avoid losing a grievance.

Of course, because Jimenez got that contract and is on the Opening Day roster, he will not file a grievance or anything. It would not shock me, however, if the other 29 teams fined the White Sox some nominal amount in their kangaroo court for making that which they at least try to hide on occasion so utterly and pathetically transparent.

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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