By Bruce Levine–
(CBS) If all goes to plan amid their rebuild that’s off to a quality start, the White Sox will look back on their trade of left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs last July as a watershed moment in the organization’s history.
Outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease were the bounties for Quintana’s services. Already, Jimenez had designs of making the big leagues sooner than later. After an impressive 2017 season that he finished at Double-A, Jimenez will join the White Sox in big league camp in spring training and likely be called up at some point in the 2018 season. Odds are when he gets that promotion, it will be for good.
Jimenez, who turned 21 Monday, dominated the winter Dominican League that he recently competed, hitting .368 with four home runs, 21 RBIs and a .676 slugging percentage in 19 games. The personable Jimenez hasn’t been shy about his desire to get to the big leagues as soon as possible, holding a strong belief in his abilities and goals.
“You see a lot of major league players who get 600 at-bats play in this winter league,” Jimenez said last week about playing year-round without much rest. “This is just a good way for us to get ready for when the time comes for us to play in the World Series. We can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m tired because I had 600 at-bats.'”
“I have a lot of confidence in myself. I can play in the major leagues whenever the team thinks it’s the best moment for me.”
One of Jimenez’s goals is to be a combination of the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and Orioles’ Adam Jones when it comes to his offensive and defensive prowess, saying he wants to “be the best of those two.”
For now, Jimenez will work toward that goal at Double-A to start the 2017 regular season, as general manager Rick Hahn has previously confirmed.
“The only thing on my mind right now is to work hard and try to do the things I know I can do,” Jimenez said. “Try to force the issue. You always have to improve in all of your game. The only way you can do that is by getting more experience.”
Jimenez’s interview last week was done with White Sox media relations translator Billy Russo assisting. He started the interview in Spanish, then responded directly in English when asked if commanding the English language was a focal point for him.
It was a sign of his off-the-field growth that has accompanied his on-field progress.
“That is very important for me,” Jimenez said. “If you can speak with the coaches and other players, you can learn a lot.
“That is why I am learning more English every day.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.