The Luis Robert sweepstakes opened and closed on Saturday, with the Chicago White Sox and Robert agreeing to a deal in the neighborhood of $25 million by early afternoon. It’s almost like negotiations started before Saturday.
At this point, it’s kind of difficult to find much more to say about Robert and the Padres, given all the coverage he’s received right here at Padres Public, over at Gwynntelligence, and elsewhere in the Padres corner of the internet. My opinion remains unchanged: that losing out on Robert—even though the total price would have been in the $50-$55 million range—stings for a couple of major reasons.
- Robert is really good. He’s probably a cut below Yoan Moncada, subject of past Padres flirtation, but I’m not sure if the gap is as big as some think, and Moncada’s arguably the best prospect going right now. Maybe Yasiel Puig is a better comp, and despite his occasional struggles, he’s a special player. Robert, if everything works out, could be ready for the bigs in a couple of years, good timing for when the Padres are anticipated to get serious about winning again.
- There aren’t a lot of logical alternatives to spend the money. Again, this has been discussed in some detail, but where are the Padres going to spend the ~$50some million they saved by passing on Robert? Certainly not in the amateur draft, where bonus pools tap out at $14 or $15 million, and not in the international amateur market, either, with the new hard cap in place (plus two years of spending restrictions for the Padres). There’s just no guarantee that this money saved will go toward improving the team on the field in other areas—and let’s face it, this team could use some new shutters or something.
Okay, okay, there really isn’t much of an update since we last wrote about Luis Robert.
Robert, the heralded 19-year-old Cuban outfielder, will become eligible to sign with a major-league team on Saturday. Don’t expect the bidding war to last long, however. Since Robert will almost certainly sign with a team before the next July 2 international amateur period starts, the deadline to sign him is bumped up to June 15, when the current signing period ends. There may be a couple of weeks of negotiation, but there’s probably a better chance a deal gets hammered out relatively soon.
It’s an exciting time for Padres fans, with San Diego assumed to be one of the five or six favorites to sign Robert, joined by a handful of other teams that have already exceeded their international amateur bonus pools plus those pesky Chicago White Sox. The Padres have already added a well-documented international haul over the last 10 and a half months, and Robert would qualify as the cherry on the top.
Anyway, Padres Jagoff wrote an excellent three-part series this week on why the Padres must sign Robert. I was leaning in that direction before reading any of Jagoff’s articles, but I’m fully on board now. Consider his last article, in which Jagoff discusses the strategic reasons why the Padres must sign Robert. In short: where else are they going to spend the money?
At the Pub, you might sit down and be unable to decide on a pint to drink, or want to try a variety of beers without committing to any of them. You’ll order a sampler, 4 beers served in smaller portions. This is that, in blog form.
Leave The Dong, Take The Cannoli
The San Diego Padres are bad, as expected, and currently hold the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. The Padres have a bad offense, as could have also been expected due to a lineup filled with mostly young players and castoffs, and currently rank 28th in wRC+, 28th in wOBA, and 30th in offensive fWAR, at -0.2, meaning the Padres offense, as a whole, is below replacement level. The Padres, however, are decidedly un-bad at one thing: mashing taters.
The Padres rank tied for 5th in MLB at crushing dongs, having hit 51 home runs through 39 games. That’s 1.3 per game. They are currently on pace for over 200 big flies this season, which would smash the previous team record of 172, set all the way back in 1970, the team’s 2nd year in the league. Wil Myers has 10 blasts. Ryan Schimpf has 9 dingers. Austin Hedges, surprisingly, has 8 very handsome round-trippers. Erick Aybar, the new Alexi Amarista, has 4, and rule 5 hanger-on Allen Cordoba (more on him later) has 3, which must have been particularly soul-crushing for the opposing pitchers. Among those listed, only Myers, the star, and Cordoba, in very limited exposure, have been above-average offensive players.
Cal Quantrill, RHP, High-A Lake Elsinore
Don’t tell Quantrill that the Cal League is supposed to be friendly toward hitters. He’ll stare you down, find the nearest baseball, and strike you out with 95 mph heat.
Quantrill’s latest masterpiece came against Rancho Cucamonga, on Tuesday night, against a lineup that included major-league rehabbers Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson along with some legit prospects. Quantrill’s line: six innings, seven hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and a career-high 12 strikeouts.
As others have noted, the most important thing the Padres can do with Quantrill is try to keep his arm healthy. Coming off Tommy John surgery in college, there’s no rush to push Quantrill up a level or work him for innings. We don’t know all that much about arm health, so just take it slow, monitor his condition after each start, and watch his innings and pitches. So long as the arm stays together, natural talent should carry Quantrill in whichever direction he points it.
The super obvious is not necessarily the bread-and-butter of The Hangover, but sometimes we have to stop to acknowledge it. Wil Myers has been great.
Myers slugged his sixth and seventh home runs over the weekend, bringing his season slash line to .310/.325/.593, with a shiny 142 wRC+. His home run from Saturday night is too graphic to post here, but yesterday’s dinger falls just within the bounds of wholesome family-friendly entertainment:
Among first basemen so far in 2017, there’s one tier of guys doing their best Barry Bonds impressions, and it consists of Eric Thames, Freddie Freeman, and Ryan Zimmerman. After that, per the FanGraphs wRC+ leaderboard anyway, there’s Paul Goldschmidt, Yulieski Gurriel, Mark Reynolds, and then Myers.
It’s fun to watch Myers turn into the player we once envisioned him as. So many great prospects end up falling short of expectations, often because the expectations are simply too high . . . and baseball is hard. Myers hasn’t quite established himself as a bonafide, no-doubt, start-’em-on-your-DFS-team-every-night kind of slugger just yet, but he’s seemingly getting closer and closer every day.
When the Padres lost a bidding war for Yoan Moncada a couple of years ago, it was, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. As good as Moncada is—and he’s potentially very, very good—missing out on him kept the Padres inside their international amateur spending budget in 2014-2015, helping to set up San Diego’s all-out assault on the current international signing market. In a sense, they traded Moncada for Adrian Morejon, Jorge Ona, Luis Almanzar, Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, Osvaldo Hernandez . . . and on and on.
Now, two years after the Red Sox inked Moncada to a $31.5 million deal, there’s a new Cuban phenom in town named Luis Robert. Like Moncada, Robert is very much a Physical Specimen, with speed, power, athleticism, and all the other attributes you’d expect from this sort of supremely talented prospect. A 19-year-old outfielder who will officially be cleared to sign with a major-league team in May, Robert is expected to sign before the next international signing period opens on July 4, when all teams will be limited by a (really dumb) hard spending cap.
If the Padres were drawing all this up when they decided not to match the Red Sox offer on Moncada back in March 2015, this is about how’d it go. With big-market teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees currently on the sidelines for past spending sprees of their own, the Padres—yes, the Padres—got to throw money around like George Steinbrenner after a five-game losing streak. Instead of competing with the Dodgers and Red Sox for top international youngsters, the Padres were competing with teams like the A’s and Braves during the current signing period. And instead of coming up short, they got their guys. Give them credit, too, because they spent, busting past their international spending pool last July 4 while continuing to add talent over the winter.