Ten days ago, SSHP’s James Fox broke the news of a Luis Robert extension offer:
Source: the Chicago #WhiteSox have opened contract extension talks with outfielder Luis Robert. No details on willingness or expectation but the deal would likely be in the 8 year $80-$90 million range.— James Fox (@JamesFox917) December 23, 2019
On Thursday, that news was confirmed:
Several sources have confirmed the extension agreement, including Bob Nightengale above, as well as Jeff Passan.
On Thursday afternoon, the White Sox released the contract terms, confirming the total deal could reach $90 million:
Under terms of the contract, Robert, 22, will receive $1.5 million in 2020, $3.5 million in 2021, $6 million in 2022, $9.5 million in 2023, $12.5 million in 2024 and $15 million in 2025. The White Sox hold $20-million options for both 2026 and 2027, with $2 million buyouts for either season.
A Robert extension has been bandied about practically since the Cuban phenom was first signed in 2017, and his otherworldly 2019 season has made locking up the Center Fielder of the Future a priority.
Eight years would keep the 22-year-old on the South Side through the 2027 season. If Eloy Jiménez’s 2019 preseason eight-year, $75 million extension is the template (and presumptively the model James is used in his original estimate), the White Sox ultimately offered Robert more generous terms, upping the total package up to $90 million.
“I am extremely happy with this deal because it is God’s will,” Robert says in a team press release. “Hopefully this year I will finally make my dream come true of playing in the big leagues. I risked everything when I left Cuba to pursue this dream, and now I know the whole process and all my sacrifices will be rewarded. My next step is to keep working as hard as ever, but now with more dedication and desire to help my team achieve our ultimate goal of winning championships.”
On the plus side for the White Sox, they’re securing Robert’s prime years, keeping him in Chicago until age 29 at least, and at a very friendly price.
On the other hand, Robert has averaged just 61 games per season in his career and his 122 contests in 2019 nearly doubled his previous career high. While that average is pulled down by both short Cuban National Series seasons and IL stints, Robert is not exactly immune to the injury bug, and the White Sox deal gives him lifetime security.
“Luis is a hugely talented player who showed his unique set of impressive skills last season and who we believe will be making an impact at the major league level during the 2020 season,” GM Rick Hahn says in the release. “As he showed at three levels in 2019, Luis has the ability to impact a game dramatically with his bat, his speed, his glove and his arm. We see him as a very important part of a talented core of position players who we anticipate will be competing together with the White Sox for many seasons to come.”