The White Sox have six outfielders on their 25-man roster two weeks before Opening Day. Eloy Jimenez is not one of them.
One White Sox opponent is displeased with that development.
Astros right-hander Collin McHugh sent a sarcastic, critical tweet Wednesday after the Sox announced they had optioned the 22-year-old Jimenez to Triple-A Charlotte.
Wishing Eloy the best of luck as he goes to AAA to work on…defense? baserunning? creating excess value for a $1.5 billion franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade? bunting? https://t.co/qJsFq6FpFC
MORE: SN saw Jimenez’s potential up close
McHugh knows the game: The Sox, deliberately or not, are exploiting MLB’s service-time rules by sending down Jimenez now even though he appears major league-ready despite a poor spring training batting line (.154/.154/.346).
Under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), MLB players can become free agents after accruing six full years of service time, with one “year” equaling 172 days. As MLB Trade Rumors noted, a major league season lasts 186 days.
If Jimenez is called up April 12 this year and sticks in the bigs through the 2025 season, then he will accrue six years and 171 days before he is eligible for free agency, assuming he doesn’t sign a long-term contract before then.
The widely criticized practice of manipulating service time will be a major point of contention between players and team owners during negotiations on a new CBA.
ESPN reported Wednesday that the two sides have agreed to start talks more than two years before the current agreement expires in December 2021.
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