The Houston Astros could have signed Eloy Jimenez back in 2014, but could have altered history.
To start off, the Astros did not sign Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs did back in 2014. According to Jesse Sanchez, the Astros and Rangers offered Jimenez the most money. Instead, he joined the Cubs because he liked the colors and idolized Sammy Sosa.
When he signed out of the Dominican Republic, the 16-year-old outfielder was a popular target. He was the top-ranked international prospect in that class, receiving a 2.8 million dollar signing bonus. He made his professional debut at 17 but has had a quick rise through the minors considering his age.
The Cubs later traded him to the White Sox as part of the Jose Quintana trade last year. While Quintana had a so-so season in 2017, this could end up being a significant loss for the Cubs. This spring, he has video game stats batting .571 with two homers and three RBIs in only seven at-bats. Jimenez is now 21 and looks to join the White Sox at some point this year.
Why did I decide to write about this?
Could you imagine the battle between Kyle Tucker and Jimenez should he have signed with the Astros? Last year between three teams, Jimenez batted .312 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs. The battle for who was next would have been legendary.
However, his signing with the Astros could have changed the outcome of last year’s World Series. Not directly, but would the Astros have signed Josh Reddick for four years if they knew they had Jimenez and Tucker possibly in 2018-19? We know that the White Sox valued Jimenez, would the Astros have traded Jimenez for Quintana?
If they had traded for Quintana, then that would have taken them out of the running for Justin Verlander. If they didn’t trade for Verlander, then they may not have won the World Series. There is a chance that they would not have signed Yuki Gurriel if they had Jimenez. These non-moves can be scary if you reflect back on them.
As much as I would have loved to have Jimenez fighting for a spot this spring, I would not go back in time to switch things. As far as Jimenez, he will now wear black and white instead of blue and white. At least he is still in Chicago. I like the boys in blue and orange better.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference****