White Sox: Luis Robert’s contract is smart gamble
The Chicago White Sox took a risk on Thursday when they decided to give Luis Robert a six-year contract with two club options that could bring the total value of the deal to $88 million.
This move by the organization is about as good of a gamble as the White Sox could have made.
Robert, 22, is well-known as the team’s best prospect and he’s also the third-best prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline.
While guaranteeing $50 million to someone who has never played a game at the major league level is risky, with Robert there isn’t too much risk associated with it.
The deal only guarantees Robert an average salary of $8.3 million per season, which really isn’t much for a starting outfielder in general.
When you can pay that for an outfielder that is heralded as someone who could become a star in the league, it’s phenomenal.
If he were to become one of the top outfielders in the game, that deal would become one of the smartest and best bargains in the league.
While, yes, the team absolutely could’ve waited to give him an extension after he proved something at the major league level, this was actually the perfect time to give him that deal.
As can be evidenced by Ronald Acuna Jr. and the eight-year, $100 million contract extension he signed after his first season, the price tag becomes significantly higher once a player proves their ability in the majors.
Had the White Sox waited until after Robert established himself, the deal very well could have been higher in terms of years and annual value.
Acuna Jr.’s deal is still very good value for his talent, but the deal Robert has is an absolute steal for the White Sox if he becomes anything close to the Braves’ outfielder talent-wise.
Obviously, if Robert is really bad, the White Sox will regret this deal, but the chances of that happening seem pretty slim.
Even if he’s not the superstar many around the league see him being, Robert is still worth an average of $8.3 million per season if he can just be a solid starting outfielder.
This deal also allows the White Sox to completely ignore service-time concerns with him to start the season which means there is a good chance Robert will be on the Opening Day roster.
For a team that is going to have to fight very hard throughout the season if they want to make the playoffs in 2020, this is huge.
Every single game will matter which means that a 10-game stretch without Robert to start the season could be the difference between a playoff team and one that falls a game or two short.
An extension of this magnitude comes with risk, but the reward for this decision far outweighs it. Luis Robert’s new contract could very well end up being the best decision the team has made this offseason.