Top outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez, who has yet to play a day in the major leagues, has agreed to a six-year, $43 million contract with the Chicago White Sox that includes two club options, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
The 22-year-old Jimenez, a power-hitting right fielder who was slated to start the season at Triple-A, is almost certain to begin the year in the middle of the White Sox's lineup after agreeing to a record-setting deal. Previously, only two players already in organizations -- Jon Singleton with Houston and Scott Kingery with Philadelphia -- had signed a long-term deal without appearing in a major league game. Jimenez's guarantee of $43 million nearly doubles the deal Kingery signed last year.
Jimenez's contract reflects the confidence Chicago has in his ability to be a star-level talent -- and the cost of keeping Jimenez from free agency before his 30th birthday, which the options offer. If exercised, they will bump the sum of Jimenez's deal to $77 million, according to sources.
Jimenez, a consensus top-five overall prospect, came to the White Sox in the crosstown trade that sent starter Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs in 2017. Between the organizations, Jimenez has hit at every level of the minor leagues, batting .311/.359/.519 with 65 home runs and 281 RBIs in 408 games.
The White Sox nevertheless optioned him to Triple-A this spring under the guise that he needed work to be ready for the major leagues. The reality was clear if not spoken: By sending Jimenez down for about three weeks, the White Sox would ensure he did not receive a full year of service time this season -- and thus delay his free agency by a year.
Had Jimenez not signed the contract, which is pending a physical, he presumably would have reached free agency after the 2025 season. If both options are exercised, he will hit free agency after the 2026 season.