White Sox

Video pitch helps White Sox sign potential cornerstone Luis Robert to loaded farm system

Video pitch helps White Sox sign potential cornerstone Luis Robert to loaded farm system

The White Sox have reportedly already added a first-round draft pick and it isn’t even June.

According to multiple reports, the team’s rebuild added a potential cornerstone as Cuban free agent outfielder Luis Robert has agreed to sign a deal that would force the White Sox to heavily exceed their 2016-17 international signing bonus pool.

Believed to be the equivalent of a high first-round draft pick, Robert, 19, reportedly has accepted a deal worth more than $25 million from the White Sox. Another key addition to the team’s ongoing rebuild, Robert likely would be the No. 3 prospect in an extremely talented White Sox farm system behind Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

It is believed that the other team vying for Robert, 19, the St. Louis Cardinals, offered the outfielder more money. 

While Robert’s deal is reportedly worth $25-30 million, the club’s cost will be double whatever the final amount is as they must pay an equivalent tax to Major League Baseball for going over their allotted amount.

White Sox officials didn't comment on the signing on Saturday. But shortly after word got out, the White Sox made a move that signals the Robert deal is close to final. They announced the trade of minor-league pitcher Alex Katz to the Baltimore Orioles for two international signing bonus slots worth $756,300. The move helps the club offset some of the penalty tax they will pay for exceeding their original bonus pool of $2,973,500, according to Baseball America.

By exceeding their pool, the White Sox also would forfeit the ability to sign any international amateurs for more than $300,000 in each of the next two years. But the thinking is that few international players in those upcoming classes would have the same sort of potential impact as quickly as Robert, who is more advanced than normal international prospects.

[MORE: Report - White Sox, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert agree to $25 million deal]

In many cases, international prospects are signed when they’re 16 or 17 years old, which means they still have a growth period left and are harder to project. At 19, Robert already stands at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds. He also is experienced, having played four seasons in the Cuban National Series. Last year, Robert his .401/.526/.687 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 232 plate appearances for Ciego de Avila.

While word of the signing didn’t leak until around 1 p.m. CST, Robert had signaled his intentions in the final hours that he indeed was headed to the White Sox. The prospect changed the avatar on his Instagram account to a new picture with him wearing a White Sox hat.

It is believed that Robert was extremely impressed by the White Sox, who made a presentation to accompany his live workout for the team. General manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Kenny Williams attended the workout. But the team also presented Robert with a video narrated in Spanish by manager Rick Renteria that included testimonials from fellow Cubans Jose Abreu and Moncada urging Robert to join them in Chicago.

Robert is yet another talented addition to a White Sox farm system that has rocketed up the rankings, according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB Pipeline, among others.

The team added Moncada and Kopech as well as No. 8 prospect Luis Basabe in a 4-for-1 deal for Chris Sale in December. A day later, the White Sox added top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez as well as Dane Dunning (who is expected to move up the charts) in exchange for Adam Eaton.

The trades netted the White Sox seven prospects and came on the heels of what looks to be a strong 2016 draft class. The White Sox added catcher Zack Collins, reliever Zack Burdi, outfielders Alex Call and Jameson Fisher, and starter Alec Hansen in the first four rounds. Before the December trades, all five were listed among Baseball America’s top-10 White Sox prospect list.

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox sign Yasmani Freakin' Grandal

White Sox Talk Podcast: White Sox sign Yasmani Freakin' Grandal

The White Sox got the Hot Stove off to a scorching start with the surprise signing of switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal.

-How big of a deal is this? (1:30)

-Could the Grandal signing help sign other free agents? (8:20)

-Rick Hahn speaks about the signing (13:00)

-Grandal talks about why he signed with the White Sox (16:00)

-What does this mean for James McCann? (17:50)

-Flu-ridden Ryan McGuffey calls in from his sick bed to share his thoughts on Grandal (25:00) and more.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The baseball world reacts to the Yasmani Grandal signing

The White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal broke suddenly and unexpectedly.

It wasn’t a big surprise that the White Sox would go after him, but the timing and the fact that the White Sox broke the news on their own (a la the Jose Quintana trade) caught people off guard.

Once the dust settled, the White Sox were in the national spotlight as far as the baseball world was concerned.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan got Ken Williams on the record before the White Sox had conference calls on the signing. Williams makes it sound like it’s go-time for the South Siders.


Passan also gave a look at a potential White Sox lineup for 2020 once prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal eventually join. We also made our own.


The Athletic’s Jayson Stark was impressed with how early the signing was. White Sox fans will enjoy that after going through the long, drawn out Manny Machado/Bryce Harper sagas last offseason.

Here are some Grandal stats that should get White Sox fans fired up about his addition (if they weren’t already).


Finally, is it time to talk playoffs? Long way to go, but the White Sox offseason is off to a notable start.


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.