Without playing in a major league game, outfielder Eloy Jimenez agreed to a six-year deal worth a guaranteed $43 million with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, multiple outlets reported.
The deal, which also includes two option years, is a record in guaranteed money for a player already in a team’s system who had not logged a day of big league time. Jimenez has played in the White Sox’s organization since 2017 when he was acquired in the deal that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs.
Including the options, Jimenez’s contract would be worth $77 million, according to ESPN.
Jimenez, the White Sox’s top prospect, had already been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte to start the upcoming season, but the deal means that he is now expected to be in the team’s Opening Day lineup on March 28 at Kansas City.
Because the contract will take him into his initial free agency years, the White Sox can put Jimenez on the major league roster now without worrying about starting his free-agency clock. If he played three weeks in the minor leagues to start this season, it would have delayed his move into free agency by one year. The new contract eliminates that scenario.
Jimenez, 22, batted .337 with 22 home runs and 75 RBIs in 108 games last season between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. He is a .311 hitter in five minor league seasons with 65 home runs.
The previous record in guaranteed money for a player already in an organization was the six years and $24 million the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to with Scott Kingery last March. The previous record before that was the $10 million guarantee between Jon Singleton and the Houston Astros in 2014.
—Field Level Media