Report: White Sox, top prospect Luis Robert agree to contract extension

Top prospect Luis Robert and the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/chi-white-sox/" data-ylk="slk:White Sox">White Sox</a> have reportedly agreed to a contract extension. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Top prospect Luis Robert and the White Sox have reportedly agreed to a contract extension. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox are continuing to show their fans and the entire baseball world that they’re serious about spending money to win. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the White Sox have agreed to a contract extension with outfielder Luis Robert, their No. 1 ranked prospect.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Robert’s contract is for $50 million over six years and includes two club options in 2026 and 2027 that could max out his deal to $88 million over eight years. Robert has yet to play in the majors, but this deal all but guarantees that he’ll start the season with the big club.

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Robert, 22, is originally from Cuba where he played professionally from the age of 15. He defected from Cuba in November 2016 when he was 19 and was declared a free agent five months later. He signed with the White Sox in May 2017.

Since he made his debut in the White Sox organization in 2017, Robert has found success at every level of the minor leagues. He’s blazed up the ladder from Low-A to Triple-A, and has a .312/.381/.551 batting line over three seasons of minor league play. He’s the top prospect in the White Sox organization, and has been ranked as a top 100 prospect in baseball over the past two years.

White Sox are going for it

Robert’s contract extension is the latest in a string of high profile moves from the normally cost-conscious club. In November the Sox signed well-regarded catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million contract. The next day they locked down first baseman and designated hitter Jose Abreu for the next three years.

Just a month later, the White Sox made three significant signings over the span of 10 days. They signed pitcher Gio Gonzalez and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to one-year contracts worth $5 million and $12 million respectively, and signed starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel to a three-year, $55.5 million contract. These are the most consequential free agent signings the White Sox have made in years, as they’ve been (very) slowly building their team through the draft.

Robert’s six-year, $50 million contract might not seem as big as those other deals, but it further shows that the White Sox are throwing some caution to the wind in their pursuit to win.

Only five contract extensions have been given to players before they’ve seen a single at-bat in the majors. With Robert’s extension, the White Sox have now given out two. That’s not a move a team makes if it’s rebuilding, that’s something it does when it’s ready to stop rebuilding and take it to the next level. The White Sox are making that leap, and they’re hoping all these moves translate into on-field success in 2020.

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