Here’s the latest on 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Luis Robert.
In a private workout with Robert on Friday in the Dominican Republic, the Athletics had several team officials in attendance, including general manager David Forst. While there, Robert faced Cuban righthander Norge Ruiz, who signed with the A’s for $2 million in December, and Robert homered off his fastball.
On Tuesday, Reds general manager Dick Williams led a deep group of high-ranking Reds officials at a private workout for Robert at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo. Robert again hit a home run against live pitching. Those two workouts came after a previous private workout with the Astros where Robert also went deep against live pitching.
The Cardinals, Padres and White Sox are also expected to hold workouts with Robert at some point in the coming weeks before he becomes officially eligible to sign on May 20. Clubs are also expecting Robert to hold one more open showcase before he becomes eligible to sign. All of those teams except for the White Sox have already exceeded their bonus pools for the current 2016-17 international signing period, which ends on June 15. That makes those clubs well-positioned to sign Robert, since they wouldn’t incur any additional future signing restrictions to sign him.
If the White Sox were to sign Robert during the current signing period, that would push them over their bonus pool and trigger a two-year penalty of being unable to sign any international amateur players for more than $300,000 for two years.