While Chicago White Sox fans wait to see what kind of reinforcements will arrive before the trade deadline, the team is set to make the two most impactful midseason additions imaginable.
With Eloy Jiménez on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, the White Sox announced Monday that fellow recovering outfielder Luis Robert was cleared to begin his own rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Charlotte.
Robert has been out since tearing his hip flexor in early May, and like Jiménez's rupturing of his pectoral tendon at the end of spring training, it was expected to be a months-long absence for the exciting center fielder. While both absences have indeed been lengthy, they have not been of the season-ending variety, which was a possibility before the recoveries got underway.
Now both middle-of-the-order bats are on the verge of returning to the major league lineup as the White Sox play their most meaningful games of a campaign with World Series aspirations, heading toward August and September with two massive talents about to return.
It's impossible to overstate just how important getting these two players back will be for a White Sox team that's surged to first place in the American League Central and built a comfortable lead while they've been sidelined. At the present, half the White Sox starting lineup is on the shelf with injuries.
But while second baseman Nick Madrigal won't be coming back this year and catcher Yasmani Grandal's timeline is still unknown — it's anticipated he'll be back before the end of the regular season — the White Sox will be getting their two outfielders back.
In Robert's case, that means adding a guy with so much talent he's been described as a "six-tool player." His combination of power, speed and defensive wizardry in center field makes him an exhilarating athlete to watch on a nightly basis and someone who can help this team win in a variety of ways.
The White Sox, without these two big boppers, established themselves as World Series contenders. With them back in the fold, they could make the claim they're among the game's World Series favorites.
And that day, thanks to Robert's updated status, could come sooner than expected.