Friday night was a terrific night for the Chicago White Sox as they throttled their crosstown rivals the Chicago Cubs in a 10-1 victory that featured six home runs. Of the six home runs, the most impressive was a solo home run hit by outfielder Eloy Jimenez that hit the video board in left-centerfield. Jimenez is becoming a Cubs killer as he has hit three home runs in just five games against the Cubs. The two teams’ trade of the outfielder back in 2017 is becoming the most significant trade between the two teams in the city’s long baseball history, even more than the Sammy Sosa trade.
In July of 2017, Cubs general manager Theo Epstein and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn agreed on a trade sending Jose Quintana to the Cubs in return for a package of players featuring Jimenez and pitching prospect Dylan Cease. Cease and Jimenez were the Cubs’ two best prospects at the time and instantly gave the White Sox rebuild a humungous boost. Quintana was one of the most reliable pitchers at the time, and his trade value was extremely high due to his immensely-team friendly contract. The starting pitcher was viewed as the missing link for the Cubs that season as many felt they were just one starting pitcher away from contending for a World Series title once again.
Jimenez would make his major league debut with the White Sox at the start of the 2019 season, and after a slow start, was a force for the rest of the season, finishing with 31 home runs to lead all rookies. This season he already leads the White Sox with nine home runs. Cease would also make his debut last season, showing promise but struggling. This season has been better for the young pitcher as he has a 3.16 ERA through five starts and has 17 strikeouts over 25 innings pitched.
When the crosstown trade took place in 2017, it was the biggest between the two teams since the White Sox traded legendary slugger Sammy Sosa to the Cubs in return for outfielder George Bell back in 1992. Sosa was an average player at the time as he would hit 28 home runs in three seasons for the team along with 52 stolen bases. Bell was a former MVP back in 1987 and was seen as a missing miss to an up and coming White Sox lineup that featured Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura. Sosa would make an important impact for the Cubs as he joined the 30/30 club in his second season, hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 1993. From 1993 to 1997, he was a reliable power hitter averaging 32 home runs and driving in over 100 RBIs in three of those five seasons. In 1998, Sosa would become arguably the most iconic player in baseball, hitting 66 home runs and winning the MVP award. The Cub star would be one of the most marketable players in baseball for the next six seasons as he would hit 545 home runs during his 13-year career with the northside team.
Cubs fans have never let White Sox fans live down the Sosa trade as the trade has been one of the most vital moments in Chicago sports history. The Jimenez trade may surpass the Sosa trade as the White Sox slugger has hit 40 home runs through 147 MLB games played in his career. Furthermore, it has been the home runs against his former team that has been the most memorable of his young career so far. In five games against the Cubs, Jimenez has hit three home runs and driven in five RBIs with his two home runs being the deciding factor in White Sox wins over the Cubs. The south side slugger is only 23 years old as his contract runs through the 2026 season. The recent home runs could be the beginning of Jimenez’s reign of terror on Cubs pitching for years to come.
The trade of Jimenez and Cease will go down as the biggest in Chicago history if both player reach their projected potential. Sunday will be the first time the Cubs former pitching prospect faces his old team as his performance will add more to the trade discussion. Epstein will go down as one of the best executives in MLB history, but his trade of Jimenez could go down as his worst as the trade could lead to a potential dynasty for the White Sox in the years to come.