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Star Prospect Eloy Jimenez Makes White Sox Roster After Signing $43M Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2019

SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 01:  Eloy Jimenez #74 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Texas Rangers on March 1, 2019 at Billy Parker Field at Surprise Stadium in Surprise Arizona.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox announced Wednesday that superstar prospect Eloy Jimenez made their Opening Day roster.

It was once thought to be unlikely that Jimenez would be with the White Sox for the first few weeks of the season because of the service time dilemma, but that changed last week when Chicago signed the slugging outfielder to a six-year, $43 million contract with club options for 2025 ($16.5 million) and 2026 ($18.5 million).

The contract set a record for the largest ever given to a player with no games of big league experience, and it ensured Jimenez would be a key part of Chicago's lineup to open the season.

According to the Associated Press (h/t the New York Times), Jimenez said: "It's amazing. I feel really proud of the work I have done. It's a dream all the players want, to break with the team in spring training."

The 22-year-old, who MLB.com ranked as the No. 3 prospect, had an up-and-down spring with a .243 average, two home runs and six RBI across 37 at-bats. In 2018, however, the Dominican upstart hit .337 with 22 homers and 75 RBI in 108 games split between Double-A and Triple-A.

MLB Pipeline @MLBPipeline

Not a bad day for #WhiteSox No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez ✅ Signs 6-year, $43 million contract extension ✅ 3-for-3 ✅ HR Gameday: https://t.co/fVDDv4ltR2 https://t.co/SzKhxXItaM

For a White Sox team that went 62-100 last season and hasn't made the playoffs since 2008, Jimenez figures to be a major presence in the middle of the lineup along with first baseman Jose Abreu.

There was some disappointment in the Windy City after missing out on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, but getting Jimenez to the big leagues quickly mitigates that to some degree.

When the White Sox face the Kansas City Royals on the road Thursday afternoon to open their 2019 regular season, look for Jimenez to occupy a starting spot in the outfield and a key position in the batting order. He's already an early favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

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