For Cubs, Mixed Emotions In Seeing Eloy Jimenez

The Cubs traded Jimenez to acquire Jose Quintana in July 2017.

Bruce Levine
June 18, 2019 - 8:17 pm

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Eloy Jimenez arrived at Wrigley Field on Tuesday donning a different uniform than the one he expected to wear when he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominic Republic in 2013.

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Now a rookie outfielder for the White Sox after being a centerpiece of a major trade between the two teams, Jimenez soaked in the scene at Wrigley Field before the teams played in the evening.

"I was sad when I left, but for me now, this is just another series," Jimenez said. "I will control all the emotions in my head and be ready to play and do my job. It was a goal of mine to play here."

Jimenez was the talk of the Cubs farm system before he was traded with right-hander Dylan Cease to the White Sox for left-hander Jose Quintana in July 2017. Earlier that season in spring training, he had made a strong impression on many Cubs players and manager Joe Maddon.

"First of all, you know the power is there," Maddon said. "My first impression was this is a bright, bright young kid. I thought he had a major league personality. He had this aura about him. That came through first. The way he started the bat and stopped it, you knew the power was there. He had some issues with his arm. He cleaned that up, and I am happy for him."

Senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod and the Cubs front office understood what they were parting with in dealing Jimenez, who was hitting .247 with 11 homers, 25 RBIs and a .777 OPS in 46 games this season.

"When we made that deal, there was some natural bittersweetness to it," McLeod said. "We acquired a great pitcher in Quintana, and we wanted to get back to the World Series. At the same time, we are losing this great kid and talent who we had known since he was 16. We watched him develop and saw the big-time power bat he was going to be. There was certainly the 'holy crap' moment knowing we were trading a future 30-homer impact bat and No. 4 hitter."

General manager Jed Hoyer echoed McLeod's refrain.

"He is going to be a really good hitter," Hoyer said. "He is a really good kid from a great family. From that regard, we are happy for them. When you are in a winning cycle, you are going to make trades that net other teams really good players. That is what happens when you have a good farm system."

Jimenez is happy to be on the South Side but he knows what to expect from the Wrigley Field faithful.

"This will be fun, but I know I am going here 'you suck' a lot from them," Jimenez said.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.