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Report: White Sox nearing deal with Luis Robert

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The White Sox are working on a deal with Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The deal is said to be between $25-30 million, with a final figure somewhere north of $45 million with taxes (via Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan). The White Sox have yet to officially confirm the signing.

The club was rumored to be one of the top three frontrunners to land Robert, Passan wrote on Thursday. Unlike several other suitors, the White Sox have not recently exceeded their international spending limits, allowing them to offer Robert a sizable bonus without incurring exorbitant tax penalties. They’ll be shackled to those penalties on any additional international free agent they sign over the next two years, preventing them from offering a bonus above $300,000.

It’s a prudent move for the White Sox as they push forward with a full-scale rebuild over the next several years. At 19 years old, Robert already profiles as one of the top two international talents on the market, second only to Japanese pitcher/slugger Shohei Otani. His elite power and speed will make him a formidable center fielder and one of the White Sox’ top two prospects alongside rookie third baseman Yoan Moncada.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.