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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Luis Robert

Holy hell, are we actually having this conversation?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Like it or not, Luis Robert is the centerpiece of the White Sox rebuild.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

fWAR: 2.1
bWAR: 2.1
WARP: 1.6

He should stay Despite nigh-criminal mismanagement of his injuries, Robert still posted average-ish WAR in his abbreviated campaign, which should give a hint as to how productive he was before things went off the rails. His 2023 salary is still less than eight figures, so he’s by no means an albatross. La Pantera is still a dynamic talent with a blend of speed, power, defense, and contact that is rare, indeed.

He should go This team has a LOT of needs, and Robert is one of few assets who could bring a meaningful return. Robert’s defense took a noticeable and significant step back from his Gold Glove performance in 2020, though how much of that is attributable to actual decline as opposed to his manager telling him to play at less than full effort and/or injured is up for debate. Three seasons into his career, Robert still has yet to play 100 games in a season, and his health was clearly compromised in 2022 for at least a quarter of his 98 games.

The verdict Robert is in danger of getting the “injury-prone” label that teammates Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez have earned, though given the sheer buffoonery of White Sox health management in 2022 one feels compelled to give him (and others) at least a bit of a pass for now. Robert remains the centerpiece of the rebuild and the most important White Sox player, as when he is on (as he was in 2021 and part of 2022), he shows the promise of an 8-WAR player and MVP candidate. Barring a ludicrous trade return, I just don’t see any way the team can expect to compete in 2023 without trying to get a full, peak season out of Robert. Then again, with the way the White Sox wasted José Abreu’s career, it’s possible La Pantera could just wind up being the Mike Trout of the Midwest even if the best-case scenario finally materializes.