Luis Robert made an undeniable level of sense for the White Sox. The only question was whether they would pony up and spend an unprecedented amount of money on teenage talent.
They answered that in the affirmative, reportedly landing Robert for a hefty price. Ken Rosenthal reported the deal was close, and worth more than $25 million, and Jon Heyman confirmed the deal’s doneness, saying the deal could be worth as much as much as $30 million.
Jeff Passan now says it’s on the low end of that range:
Sources: Cuban OF Luis Robert has agreed to terms on a deal with Chicago White Sox worth slightly above $25M. Total outlay after tax: $45M+.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 20, 2017
The White Sox have to pay nearly double Robert’s sum because teams are taxed 100 percent on the overage, and the White Sox’ international bonus pool was only $2,973,500.
Still, it made sense for the White Sox to go all out for a five-tool 19-year-old outfielder, even if costs them more than $50 million to close the deal, because there was no more sensible way to spend that kind of money over the next two years. Robert can be penciled in as aggressively as No. 2 on the team’s prospect list after hitting .401/.426/.897 for Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series in 2016.
This signing will curtail the White Sox’ spending over the next two years. At the top, the White Sox probably planned to pare down the payroll. Internationally, they’ll be prohibited from signing players worth more than $300,000 over the next two international signing periods periods. Considering the team’s previous unwillingness to enter bidding wars for top-30 international prospects and the club’s inability to matriculate a recent international signing beyond A-ball, this particular punishment may not be acutely felt.