By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Eloy Jimenez was shocked to hear about the trade that sent him from the Cubs organization to the White Sox along with three other minor leaguers Thursday.
The top player in the Cubs’ farm system and a consensus top-10 prospect in the game, the 20-year-old Jimenez will now be a centerpiece as a corner outfielder for the White Sox’s rebuild.
“It was really a surprise in the beginning,” Jimenez said on a conference call Friday afternoon. “You never know where you are going to go or where happiness will come from. Right now my job is to play for the new organization and get to the major league team.”
Jimenez has cross paths previously with a few players in the White Sox farm system who now are or will be his teammates, including infielder Yoan Moncada and right-hander Michael Kopech.
“I don’t know much about the White Sox,” he said. “A few friends of mine have told me how good the organization is and will be in the future. Honestly, I knew about (Yoan) Moncada because we played together last year in the Futures Game. We did that again this year as well. I knew about (Michael) Kopech and (Zack) Collins because I faced them before. Now I will be playing with Collins. I knew more about Moncada than the others.”
Moncada in particular is a player whom Jimenez has spent some time around.
“He was very quiet at first,” Jimenez said. “He was a little bashful. He did not have too much to say at first. He does have a really strong work ethic. He is all business when he is out there playing. He has total focus on his job. At the same time, I found him to be a really nice guy. It is fun to be around him.”
Jimenez was thankful to a Cubs organization that has impacted his life in a big way.
“I want to thank all of the people in the Cubs organization,” Jimenez said. “They treated me like part of their family. They treated me like a son. I am so thankful for all the good things they have done for me. I also have a strong feeling about them. I felt like they were my family too. I am so glad I had an opportunity to play for them in their system. This is just another step forward for me.”
Jimenez wasted no time suiting up for the White Sox, playing for the high Class-A Winston-Salem Dash on Thursday night. In a twist, he played against his old team, Myrtle Beach. Jimenez went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
“Once the game started and I was on the field, it was just baseball,” he said. “There was a connection of course — you know with your former teammates. Once we started to play, I began to feel more comfortable and it was just baseball. Then it became less weird for me.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.