General Manager A.J. Preller dropped a massive amount of cash on international prospects, last July, but with a couple of months left before his hard spending cap sets in, he’s getting one more opportunity to make a big signing.
Source: MLB has cleared free-agent Cuban outfielder Luis Robert to sign with a club.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 20, 2017
Luis Robert is perhaps the second most coveted player in the international market, right after Japan’s Shohei Otani. At just 19 years old, he spent the last season dominating Cuba’s Serie Nacional, where Baseball America’s Ben Badler reported that he’s got a bat with serious potential and enough speed to capably play any outfield spot. He’s expected to jump straight into A-ball when signed, so we’re talking major league ready right around the time the Padres expect their competitive window to open.
At present, the Padres are the only NL West team planning a workout with Robert, as the Giants and Dodgers are stuck with the measly penalty cap, and there’s no word about the Diamondbacks or Rockies being interested. Preller will have to go toe-to-toe with the GMs of other teams who have already blown past their 16-17 spending pool. That could drive up the price, but it might be worth it to have Robert on the farm.