Chicago White Sox: The gift of Eloy will have to wait

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Chicago White Sox fans were hoping for a gift for the last month of the season. Thanks to the MLB’s CBA, that won’t be happening.

It was buried under the city-wide euphoria of the Khalil Mack trade, or the Cubs surge at the top of the NL Central, but there was some news on the Southside this past weekend. The Chicago White Sox announced they will not be calling up Eloy Jimenez for September. The news itself and its lack of attention justified the already voluminous sense of self-loathing among those clad in black.

At this point. most fans know why this is, whatever the stated reasons given by a team. The Sox can keep his service time clock from starting by this, and tack on another year to his time before he becomes a free agent. Basically, they get another year of not having to pay him what he’s worth somewhere down the line.

Oh sure, the stated reason, given by White Sox GM Rick Hahn, was that Eloy needs to work on his defense. “We’re not developing a 21-year-old DH,” said Hahn, Which would lead one to wonder how exactly his defense is going to improve by not playing defense anywhere at all for the next month.

And somehow, call me crazy, when Eloy gets called up to the majors I doubt it’ll be because they think he’s Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward in the field. It’ll be because he’s Aries at the plate.

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Technically, Hahn and the White Sox aren’t doing anything wrong. These are the rules, they’re playing by them, and if the players want this changed they can do so when the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in a couple seasons.

The fans don’t get their “cookie” for slogging through some truly awful baseball at points this season with very few points of light, but no one’s going to remember this if the Sox are contenders as soon as next year.

You don’t hear any Cubs fans complaining about the two weeks Kris Bryant spent loitering in Iowa in 2015, do you?

The arguments don’t hold up, but then again they don’t have to. The Sox should be able to pay Eloy whatever he’s worth–and fans will hope that’s somewhere near $30 million a year–whether it’s in the winter of 2024 or 2025. Some might want to claim that the Pale Hose are a small-market team masquerading through a large-market, but MLB teams are so flush with cash that doesn’t matter.

Even last year, when they weren’t good and everyone knew they wouldn’t be good and most nights felt like “Friends And Family Only” at The Rate, the White Sox generated $266 million. Baseball’s television and streaming rights are basically only going to stay the same or go up, so there is no team that should ever be crying poor. Especially as the Sox aren’t exactly paying rent on 35th.

The only person who gets screwed here is Eloy because all he did was everything that could have been asked of him and now his employers are going to hold him out of making real money for another season simply because they can. Unless you think a .434 wOBA in Triple-A doesn’t constitute being ready, and if you do I want to know what color the sky is in your world.

White Sox fans get a little screwed, but it’s still only four weeks of Eloy they don’t get. When Eloy joins next year with Michael Kopech, possibly Dylan Cease, and with any sort of rebound from those who are already there they could easily challenge what could be a fading Cleveland Indians team and a never-gonna-put-it-together Minnesota Twins.

It’s just a stupid part of the CBA that the union should have seen better of, and didn’t, and will try to make amends at the next negotiation for. September call-ups like Eloy in the past were a hope for the future. But these days, with access to both all of his stats and his actual games in Charlotte, Sox fans already know what awaits them next March. The Sox can sell tickets and hope on that already.

It’s silly, it’s cynical, and it’s unfair to the player. Sadly, it’s his opinion and feelings that count the least.