Chicago White Sox/Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago White Sox suffered a significant blow to their 2021 season on Thursday as general manager Rick Hahn confirmed that starting left fielder Eloy Jimenez will miss approximately 5-6 months with a torn pectoral injury.
Jimenez was injured during the White Sox spring training game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. During the play, Jimenez was tracking a batted ball towards the outfield wall when he climbed the wall and consequently hung on the wall with his elbow. It is believed that is when Jimenez tore his left pectoral muscle.
Looking beyond the debate over whether or not Jimenez should remain as the team’s starting left fielder, instead of being the designated hitter, the White Sox will now be tasked with finding his replacement for the 2021 season.
While speaking with reporters on Thursday, Hahn did not divulge any potential external candidates that the White Sox may take a look at. Hahn did seem to strongly indicate that prospect Andrew Vaughn would get consideration. Adam Engel also got a mention from Hahn but Engel is expected to be sidelined with an injury until mid-April. Replacing Jimenez will be no easy task.
Entering the 2021 season, he was projected to be the primary source of power in the White Sox lineup. While the White Sox still have the likes of shortstop Tim Anderson, center fielder Luis Robert, and first baseman Jose Abreu, neither of those three are projected to hit the 40 home runs that Jimenez was expected to contribute.
The White Sox are not going to be able to replace the power lost from Eloy being sidelined for at least five months. There is not an internal candidate nor an external candidate that is capable of that type of power output. However, the White Sox will need to find an answer in leftfield and there are three potential replacements that stand out immediately: