It appears as though Eloy Jimenez’s time in the Chicago White Sox outfield is over.
Jimenez had spent most of his time as the White Sox designated hitter last season, making just 30 appearances in left. With the signing of Andrew Benintendi to play left, and the expected coronation of Oscar Colas to take over in right, there does not seem to be a place for Jimenez in the outfield.
Eloy Jimenez still hoping to play in outfield for Chicago White Sox
However, that is not something Jimenez is willing to accept at this point in his career. During a Zoom interview, Jimenez said that leg surgery was the only reason why he spent so much time as a designated hitter last season and he wants to be in the outfield going forward.
Jimenez’s desires may not matter much. He has only appeared in left field at the major league level and the White Sox signed a former Gold Glove winner in Benintendi to man the position. While right may be more open, Jimenez has not appeared at the position since he spent 19 games there in the minors in 2018.
He has not exactly been the greatest defensive outfielder during his time in the majors either. Jimenez has cost the White Sox 15 runs defensively since reaching the majors, something that has to factor in to their decision. He has been a solid piece of their lineup when healthy, posting a .276/.327/.504 batting line with 71 homers and 54 doubles in his 1288 plate appearances. The key is keeping him healthy as much as possible.
That may happen the easiest by slotting him in a designated hitter role. While it may not be what Jimenez wants, the White Sox have to do what will be best for the franchise moving forward, especially as they look to put a disappointing 2022 season behind them. Keeping a defensive liability out of the outfield could help.
Eloy Jimenez wants to be a part of the Chicago White Sox outfield going forward. There may not be enough room for that to be the case.