CHICAGO -- A Major League source confirmed to MLB.com that the White Sox will be traveling to the Dominican Republic this week to watch Luis Robert work out.Executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn will be in attendance to view the supremely talented 19-year-old outfielder from Cuba,
CHICAGO -- A Major League source confirmed to MLB.com that the White Sox will be traveling to the Dominican Republic this week to watch Luis Robert work out.
Executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn will be in attendance to view the supremely talented 19-year-old outfielder from Cuba, who was declared a free agent by MLB on Thursday, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Robert will be eligible to sign with a big league club on May 20.
The White Sox would not confirm the workout or any sort of interest in Robert.
According to Sanchez's report, Robert hit .393 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in Cuba's Serie Nacional, the island's top league, last season. Adding this five-tool talent, who stands at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, would be the equivalent of bringing in an extra top-five pick in the 2017 Draft. The White Sox have the 11th pick overall in the first round.
Robert would fit perfectly with the rebuilding plan, in that he would be a high-end, controllable young talent who could be Major League ready around the time the White Sox truly are ready to contend again in 2019 or '20. If Robert were signed, he almost certainly would begin at either Class A Kannapolis or Class A Advanced Winston-Salem.
Signing Robert also seems to be important to the White Sox fan base for a reason greater than his abundance of talent. The fans have reveled in the clear-cut direction fostered by Hahn, and the critical young mass being built with second baseman Yoan Moncada, catcher Zack Collins and pitchers Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, Lucas Giolito and Zack Burdi to name a few.
But they also realize money will need to be spent to complete this rebuild. Hahn has mentioned when the time is right, the moves will be made. This is the sort of impact deal potentially reinforcing the White Sox commitment along with speeding up the rebuild process.
The Cardinals, Padres, Reds and Astros appear to be prime contenders, per Sanchez, along with the A's as a darkhorse. The White Sox have a strong Cuban lineage in their organization dating to the great Minnie Minoso and currently residing with Moncada and Jose Abreu, who the White Sox signed as a free agent to a six-year, club record $68 million deal prior to the '14 season.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.