White Sox agree to long-term contract with top prospect Luis Robert
For the second consecutive year, the Chicago White Sox have signed their top prospect to a long-term contract – before even getting a big-league at-bat.
Center fielder Luis Robert, the 2019 USA TODAY Sports Minor League Player of the Year, has agreed to a deal with the club that guarantees $50 million over six years and includes two options – 2026 and 2027 – that could bring the total value of the contract up to $88 million.
Chicago announced the deal Thursday afternoon.
The 22-year-old Robert hit .328 with 32 home runs and 36 steals across three levels in 2019, including 16 homers in 47 games at Class AAA.
“I remember seeing Ken Griffey Jr. in the beginning – we broke into the big leagues together in the same year – and Ken had that same kind of glow," said Omar Vizquel, Robert's manager in Class AA.
"He can do it all. He can beat you with a home run, with a stolen base, turn it into a different gear to make a play in the field. When you look at Robert, you see a player like that.”
Last spring, the White Sox signed Eloy Jimenez to a six-year, $43 million deal. Jimenez wound up making the opening day roster and finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
“I feel I’m ready but if the team decides to leave me here another year (in the minors), I’m okay with that,” Robert said in September. “That obviously means that they believe there’s more for me to learn so I’m going to keep trying to learn and get better.”
The deal doesn't guarantee that Robert will break camp with the team, but certainly increases the likelihood. With his impending arrival, Chicago has a terrific young core featuring Jimenez, shortstop Tim Anderson, third baseman Yoan Moncada and starter Lucas Giolito.
Second baseman Nick Madrigal should also debut in 2020 after batting .311 with 35 steals across three levels in 2019.
The White Sox made a quite splash this winter as well, having already brought back first baseman Jose Abreu, signed free agents Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez and traded for right fielder Nomar Mazara.