White Sox reassign Jimenez, Cease to Minors

Cease, Clarkin, Collins among prospects trimmed from roster

Eloy Jimenez will start the season at Double-A Birmingham alongside lefty Ian Clarkin. (Jimmy Mitchell/Birmingham Barons)

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com | March 14, 2018 1:25 PM ET

Eloy Jimenez's time in Major League camp may be over, but he sure left an impression.

Bothered by a sore knee, the top White Sox prospect hit .571 with two homers, a triple and three RBIs in four Cactus League games before the White Sox announced his reassignment to Double-A Birmingham on Wednesday. The move was one of eight made as the club trimmed its big league camp to 45 players.

"He did a great job," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Everybody saw a little glimpse of what the young man's capable of doing. He's going to go down there and continue to work on his defense and get more at-bats and get himself ready, and hopefully puts himself in a position where we're all awaiting making the decision."

Jimenez and lefty Ian Clarkin were both optioned to Double-A, while Dylan Cease, Chicago's No. 5 prospect, was assigned to Minor League camp. Daniel Palka and Jose Rondon were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte and outfielders Micker Adolfo and Luis Alexander Basabe were sent to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. Catcher Zack Collins will also join Cease in Minor League camp.

Jimenez's move is the biggest headline, with some hoping the 21-year-old slugger would start his fourth Minor League season at Triple-A. The right-handed outfielder -- MLB.com's No. 4 overall prospect -- split last season between three affiliates, hitting .312 with 19 homers, 65 RBIs and 22 doubles in 89 games for Myrtle Beach, Winston-Salem and Birmingham. The native of the Dominican Republic originally was signed by the Cubs in 2013 but was traded, along with Cease, across town to the White Sox last July 13 in a deal that sent lefty Jose Quintana to Wrigley.

Jimenez appeared in 18 games with the Double-A Barons after the trade, hitting .353 with three homers and seven RBIs in 68 Southern League at-bats. 

"In terms of the impact, the skill, I remember going to camp one year with Ken Griffey Jr.," Renteria said. "If I had any youngster that in terms of how he impacted you so quickly -- I don't want to get ahead of myself -- but Eloy seems to be that type."

"I know that right now, that I belong here. I know that; that's for sure," Jimenez told MLB.com through an interpreter. "I know that. That's for sure. When I'm going to be there, that's up to the team. They have to make a decision, and when they want me to be there, I'm going to be there. And when God also thinks it's the best time, I'm going to be there."

Cease, a 22-year-old righty from Milton, Georgia, went 1-10 in 22 starts last season, although he pitched much better than his record suggests. He owned a 3.28 ERA and struck out 126 batters while walking 44 in 93 1/3 innings. MLB.com's No. 61 overall prospect held batters to a .221 average and allowed just three home runs. The 2017 Midwest League All-Star was the Cubs' sixth-round pick in 2014 and went 2-0 with nine strikeouts and three walks in 6 1/3 scoreless innings this spring.

Clarkin, 23, enters the season as the Sox's No. 17 prospect after joining the organization last July in the trade that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. One of New York's first-round picks in 2013 alongside Aaron Judge, Clarkin went 4-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 outings last season. He struck out 63 and walked 33 in 86 2/3 innings, splitting time between the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees and Winston-Salem.

Clarkin appeared in three Spring Training games this year, allowing four unearned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Basabe, Chicago's No. 14 prospect, is coming off a down year in which he batted .221 and had five homers in 107 games for Winston-Salem. The 21-year-old switch-hitter added 36 RBIs but struck out 104 times. He was batting .273 with a homer and three RBIs in 16 Major League Spring Training games this year.

Collins batted .182 with a homer and two RBIs in 11 at-bats over seven Spring Training games this year. Chicago's No. 9 prospect and top catcher hit .224 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs last year between the Dash and the Barons, earning trips to the Futures Game and the Carolina League All-Star Game. He was Chicago's first-round pick in the 2016 Draft out of Miami.

Adolfo, a 21-year-old outfielder, was batting .346 with two RBIs in eight Spring Training contests. Last season at Class A Kannapolis, he hit .264 with 16 long balls and 68 RBIs in 112 games as a South Atlantic League All-Star.

Danny Wild is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More