The pros and cons of when to call up Eloy Jimenez

Brian Bilek wrote a piece about the debate over when Eloy Jimenez should get promoted to the White Sox. He broke down the pros and cons of why the Sox should wait until 2019 to get the extra year of service time. This came a week or two after another FutureSox writer, Julie Brady, published an article essentially taking the opposite side.

Some of the FutureSox staff had a group chat via text message where we had our own debate on the topic. At some point we decided to make a post out of this.

So here it is, in its mostly raw form. The messages are lightly edited for spelling and grammar as well as occasionally re-ordered to provide clarity on who each message was directed towards.

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Rob Young: How's the hate today Brian?

Matt Cassidy: Looks on Twitter that he's getting more positive than negative reaction.

Brian Bilek: All the reactive folks have responded as expected but like Matt said a lot of positive feedback.

Eric Oliver: It would be exciting to see him up, but it makes perfect sense to keep him down for the extra year.

Dan Santaromita: I would start work on a buy out deal and avoid this nonsense. You're making the big business argument for screwing over an employee. From that sense I find it dirty.

Eric: It's undoubtedly dirty but it makes sense.

Dan: If your employer did this to you, you would be furious. I refuse to take that side of the argument. To be clear, this only applies to Eloy. Kopech can stay in AAA and get something out of it.

Eric: Yes and everyone is furious whenever it happens but what can we do about it? We could point it out, and complain about it. But that won't change anything.

Dan: I think the union will fight against it at some point. How much do we think this costs Eloy? $10M? $20M? Hope he doesn't remember this when he hits that free agency.

Matt: I'm personally in the camp of Eloy should come up right now. For me, the moral argument Dan brings up is important, but also I think it leaves a bad taste for the player, it upsets the fan base (the customers). Hahn can certainly do this, I just don't think the potential differential value he gets from it outweighs the negative impacts.

Ken Sawilchik: I understand the economic aspect of it, but if there is nothing be gained by staying in AAA development wise, you're holding them back. By this measure Moncada was brought up way too early. He didn't dominate at AAA the way Eloy has.

Dan: Brian, I see the logic in your argument and I don't think it's quite gotten that bad with Eloy where he has to be up ASAP. Just don't like it (waiting until 2019) overall. I have no idea why they pushed up Moncada. I wonder if he is leaving a bad taste with everyone.

Eric: Yes there are immediate consequences but if everyone else is exploiting this, why let a potentially franchise altering player hit FA a year earlier when time is of the essence.

Rob: Developmentally, Eloy was in Winston at this time last year. Kopech still has his struggles. They are 21 and 22 years-old, respectively, it's not an outrage and a stain on their honor. I think it's a bit short sighted at this point. In 2024 nobody is going to care about all the angst to see Eloy and Kopech play a couple months on a 100-loss team.

Dan: Ironic that you use short sighted when you're entirely ignoring the player side of this.

James Fox: I thought they'd be here already. If they aren't here for next homestand, what's the point? Having them up September and then starting next year with the club is worst thing they can do.

Rob: Both those guys signed big bonuses. They will get paid in arbitration and get their big payday just like everyone else. It's not an issue of "fair" on what an organization wants to do with roster construction until we get to union and labor deals.

Eric: It is a failing of the players union though. It's going to be interesting when the next CBA happens. The players need stronger representation IMO.

Rob: Strong agree. System is broken, Sox are just exploiting it, which the overwhelming majority of the time, fans would be thrilled about.

Dan: Yes it is the right of the White Sox to do so,- but there are consequences to consider. Boras made a big deal out of (Kris) Bryant. He probably won't hold it against the Cubs, but maybe Eloy holds it against the Sox? It has to be something they think about. I still think the best case scenario is an arb buyout. They gave it to Tim Anderson for crying out loud. If they are considering that, there's no reason to play the service time game.

Rob: They could...so they both hypothetical walk in 2025. Sox get 5 full contending years of their services. I think they are fine with that.

Owen Schoenfeld: I want to know why 2025 matters so much, when like 4-5 key pieces, or at least people the Sox were banking on being part of this process, hit free agency before then.

Eric: I think those hurt the game, too, only because they limit potential earnings. That's a very pro-team approach.

Dan: It's insurance (for the player).

Rob: You potential lose Lopez/Moncada/Giolito, but gain Luis Robert/Cease/Hansen/Dunning/Collins/Burdi/Madrigal...I don't understand the concern Owen.

Owen: I think it's time to get Eloy/Kopech acclimated and then spend a little money this winter so they're not just outright punting 2019.

Dan: I don't understand projecting to 7 years from now.

Rob: Because that's what Sox have been doing trading Sale and Quintana for prospects. You are projecting 7 years into the future. Why else would you trade for high ceiling prospects in baseball? To win next year? Absolutely not.

Dan: It's such a guess though. You don't make decisions based on 2025.

Matt: That's another thing, 7 years from now there is no telling where the team is. Long term control is good but finagling one extra Year 7 for one player is not worth all the negatives to me.

Dan: That's the whole point of Hahn's line about critical mass like Brian said.

Owen: I guess my concern is that we'll just live 2015 and 2016 again and again, a stars and scrubs roster where a) the window never lines up or b) They never spend to manufacture one.

Matt: I wouldn't do a buyout yet either, not until the guy has played a major league season at least.

Owen: Agreed Matt.

Dan: To be fair, you take your chances with a few stars and hope your front office can fill in the gaps. They made bad moves to get stuck with 15/16.

Rob: Sustainable waves of controllable talent is the goal and Moncada/Gio/Lopez were the tip of the spear. Putting Eloy/Kopech with that next wave makes a lot of sense, from a purely business/operational perspective.

Owen: Losing Lopez/Moncada/Gio is like throwing out the Sale and Eaton returns. So Michael Kopech is the guy they hope lines up with Eloy? So him, Eloy, and Cease are the fruits of leveraging that whole cheap core - one of which they controlled for three years and will likely be a HOF. If they wanted to push this window into the 20s, they should have traded Eaton for Juan Soto and Low-A prospects, not two close-to-the-majors rotation pieces. I'll admit my impatience is getting the best of me here, but Eloy slashing 1.100 in Charlotte and K-ing under 10% tells me there's not much value keeping him down. At least in Kopech's case, he's has enough control issues and racked up enough innings to say he doesn't NEED to be here. I personally think Eloy/Kopech need to line up with Carlos Rodon, not with what Robert or Madrigal and 2019's top pick might be in three years.

Rob: Moncada/Giolito/Lopez are paired with everyone under control from 2020-2023. They are not "throwing them out."

Owen: Heck, they've even drafted to boost this current group (Collins, Burger, Burdi). If they wanted to aim to propel themselves in 2021-on, they should have targeted Jo Adell type players, both in the draft and in trade. So if 2020-2024 is a time they intend to win, then why is it not valuable to have Eloy/Kopech work through growing pains at the MLB level when they're reasonably ready. Why do they give a **** whether they control Eloy in 2025. If we're already splitting hairs over whether they can afford him in arb or god forbid pay him market rate pay or have to extend him a year sooner, then this organization is just listless - like they've been for about a decade now.

Rob: 2019 is obviously going to be the growing pains year. It depends on your definition of reasonable in terms of the organization and their plans. I agree with James (and you to an extent) that they both should have been up already. But at this point, hell, just go get the extra year.

Owen: If they were always aiming for 2020, then I really don't like the premise of the Eaton return. But I totally see the attractiveness of locking in that extra year at this point, I'm more confused why it even got to the point that keeping Eloy down into 2019 could even be considered.

Rob: Evaluators said Dunning could be the best piece of that deal. And controlling Giolito and Lopez for three contending years (2020-2023) isn't a disaster.

Ken: Part of it could be the development of the rest of the org. Guys like Dunning, Hansen, Burger, Robert, Adolfo only made small advancements. There are no obvious call ups after these two.

Matt: Zavala probably gets a September look, and could be part of the future though likely as a backup or platoon.

James: Wanting them up here now is basically saying we value 2 months of 21-year-old Eloy playing on a 100-loss team more than a full season of 28-year-old Eloy in 2025. It has nothing to do with money. It's about contract control.

Owen: Exactly. So when do we start talking about trading Rodon? If Avi and Abreu aren't getting extended, they need to be dealt and at that point, Rodon probably needs to be cashed in as well. Both Eaton and Q were traded with control that conceivably fit with the next White Sox playoff team, at least at the beginning of the window. Hahn publicly said as much and I don't think it was merely posturing. If they think this is delayed, they need to start applying that thought to their expiring assets (which James has been saying for awhile).

Ken: Rodon could be on the block this offseason if he stays healthy through the rest of the year.

Rob: Rodon is here for two contending White Sox seasons (2020-2021). I think it's clear 2020-2025 is the target window to contend. Sox are doing everything they can to be as competitive as possible during that time. I'm assuming one year in that window is equal to the rest, until we get contrary evidence.

Owen: Then they need to either trade or extend Abreu. They can't sit in limbo with him and Avi. Decision time.

Rob: I agree wholeheartedly on Abreu and Avi.

Ken: If you could get Eloy/Cease caliber players for Rodon would you do it?

James: Of course.

Brian: Boras isn't extending him.

James: I thought they might consider a 6-year, $90 million deal or something but if not you absolutely trade him.

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So there it is - not even a portion of our writers exactly agree on how to answer the question.

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  • Eloy is paying the price for the Sox having rushed Moncada. Tell me there weren't several boxes needing checking for Moncada before bringing him up. Like getting K rate below 30%, making plate adjustments with 2 strikes to protect the plate, especially with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Keeping head in the game at all times when in the field, keeping head in game when on the basepaths and actually paying attention to signs from coach.
    There are so many holes in Yoan's game it's a sieve. Mike Trout was sent down to work on some things in 2012. Schwarber was sent down to work on some things and get his head straight last July in the midst of a pennant race. Even Rizzo makes 2 trike adjustments, and he IS a power hitter. So here are the Sox not expected to be competitive for 2-3 more years and they keep trying to force this kid and kill his confidence. My wife watched yesterdays post-game with Bill Melton as Yoan went down 4 times LOOKING!! She said "this guy looks completely lost out there". That's from a casual observer, so why don't the Sox see this? He is loaded with talent but does not seem to have much in the way of baseball IQ. There is no way to fix as many gaping holes as he has while at the major league level. There is nothing wrong with sending a guy down to work on things, and the earlier in his career the better before his confidence and psyche is completely crushed.
    This looks to me like the Sox refusing to admit they rushed him and instead of hitting reset button they are content to ruin this guy rather than admit he needs help that can't happen while at majors.

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