White Sox

Rick Hahn expects 'robust' bidding process for Cuban free agent Luis Robert

Rick Hahn expects 'robust' bidding process for Cuban free agent Luis Robert

All the conditions in place would suggest Luis Robert is in for a significant payday when he’s eligible to sign on May 20.

The Cuban free agent is well-positioned for a big signing bonus as the final international free agent made eligible under the rules of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. As such, Robert can sign for any amount, with all teams except for the White Sox merely paying a luxury tax matching the amount that they exceed their signing bonus pools. The White Sox would not only have to pay that same tax, they’d have to forfeit the ability to sign any international player over $300,000 for the next two years -- something most of their competitors have already done. With those teams having already reached that threshold, and given Robert’s talent and experience, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn thinks the price tag will end up high.

Hahn sidestepped how involved the White Sox would be in the process even though they’ve reportedly been intricately so the past few months. The team not only has reportedly had constant contact with Robert, both Hahn and Kenny Williams attended a private workout for the outfielder last week.

“It’s going to be robust,” Hahn said. “I’m always optimistic. It’s much easier to go about life that way.

“Look it’s going to be robust bidding and we’ll see how it unfolds in the coming weeks.”

[RELATED: Rick Hahn on White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada: 'We're not going to rush this']

Some believe if Robert were available in the amateur draft he could go as high as the first overall pick. Most believe that at the least he would be a high first-round selection. A combination of Robert’s talent and the harsher rules that go into effect after the current CBA expires has Hahn expecting a bidding war. While Hahn avoiding any public commitment of the team’s involvement, it’s expected that the White Sox will make a strong push for the outfielder. The addition of Robert is critical for a team looking to add as much young, controllable talent as possible. Adding Robert would be akin to a second first-round draft pick for the White Sox, who only in December began their first rebuild in 20 years.

“He’s an extremely talented young man who is going to have an impact on whatever organization he winds up joining and given the fact the collective bargaining agreement changes how these players are treated here these few weeks this is really the last opportunity for certain clubs to exercise strictly their financial might in order to receive such a talent,” Hahn said. “I expect there will be robust bidding on this player.” 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen