Luis Robert, the top international free agent available right now, has been cleared by Major League Baseball to sign according to Ken Rosenthal.

Update: 12:51pm

Jesse Sanchez just provided another update which clarifies that Luis Robert won’t be able to sign until May 20th.

We covered a lot of things with Luis Robert yesterday, including that he has a private workout with the Cincinnati Reds next week in the Dominican Republic. The fact that he’s now eligible to sign doesn’t mean that he will sign quickly. It is in his best interest to sign before June 15th as it will be significantly better for his bank account for that to happen. That’s less than two months from today, but still plenty of time to have workouts with teams, get offers and figure out which deal makes the most sense.

The Reds are considered one of the favorites, though most of that speculation is simply because the team is already over their 2016 international spending limits and facing stiff penalties as it is. With that said, the team has expressed their interest in Luis Robert. The fact that they’ve set up a private workout takes things to the next level. I wouldn’t expect him to sign for at least a few more weeks, but it appears that everything is coming together. The Reds will certainly be in the mix, but it’s going to come down to whether or not they are willing to spend more money than other teams are.

When it’s come to Cuban players, they’ve been willing to do that in the past. Will they be able to, and be willing to do it once again? This marks the last real chance for the organization to simply outspend other teams on the market. The new rules take over on July 2nd and everyone is pretty much limited to spending the same amount of money, even if they trade for more spending space because it’s limited in how much you can trade for. If the team could land Luis Robert, then couple that with a strong pick at #2 in the June draft, we could look back in five years and see the summer of 2017 as that last building block the team made towards the future that really turned things around. It’s going to get real interesting in the next few weeks.

Update

Just after I posted this story, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweeted this:

Obviously, that can change if someone makes the right offer. But, with that information, maybe it’ll be another month or so until he signs.

36 Responses

  1. The Duke

    The Reds are certainly acting like they are serious. Given our positive history with Cuban signings, I hope we can pull it through. At the end of the day, it’s likely all about who offers the most $$$ though.

    • Gaffer

      Then it has to be the Reds, no matter what. There is no other star OF in the system and none worthy of the 2nd pick likely this year. Also they have no real tradable assets left to get one on the trade market.

    • Greenfield Red

      I agree Duke, that it will come down to money. I like what I’ve heard Dick Williams say on this subject. Something along the lines of ‘as long as the money is reasonable’. I agree with that stance.

      If he demands $50,000,000 you have to back off. Let someone else pay it. I think he could go for $25,000,000 though. Maybe there could be some sort of guarantee to put him on the 40 man within 18 months or so.

      If they want to dramatically increase attendance at GABP, they have to build a winner. Money spent on the front end, could pay off big time on the back end.

      I’m glad the Reds are in the conversation. Let’s bring this home!

      • The Duke

        Under the CBA now you can’t guarantee 40 man roster spots in any sort of time frame. They could tell him that on the side, but there would be no real recourse if they didn’t do it.

      • Greenfield Red

        Got it. His play could be his own fast track to the majors.

    • reaganspad

      Go Get Him.

      Agreed Duke it is about the dollars, but the Reds will not be drafting in the top 10 next year, cannot sign internationals for big bucks, lose Phillips and Cozart’s contacts and Feldman’s for that matter next year, and they should have an influx of attendance with the way they are playing.

      Add in a new GM and as you say our track record for integrating Cuban players into the league, there is no reason to lose this signing based on cost.

      Lots of intangibles to sell as well. Does not hurt that we have a winning record right now

      Beat the O’s again today

  2. kevin zook

    agree with all.. have to get him… could be a bust, but will show that the reds are trying hard, to build a winner

  3. KyWilson1

    Go all in, its an extra top 5 draft pick essentially.

  4. Simon Cowell

    The Reds should just tell him they’ll pay 1 million more than anyone else.

    • Chris

      What if another team tells him they’ll pay 1 million more than whatever the Reds are willing to offer? Things could get hairy.

  5. Krozley

    Moncada signed for $31.5MM two years ago. If that is the price, no way the Reds can afford the risk of shelling out $63MM for one non-established player. Most of the big spenders are ineligible, but someone will probably pony up more than they should for Robert’s services. I think the Reds will make an offer, but they will be outbid by teams who can better absorb the risk like the White Sox or Cardinals unfortunately. Hope I’m wrong.

    Robert will be the last big bonus baby before the new rules begin, and he will cash in as I bet some team will offer something outrageous.

    • Arnold Ziffle

      You have to remember that not all MLB teams will be in the bidding. Like was the case with Moncada. Some big market teams are serving their penalties this year/signing period for prior years overspending.
      STL is the one team I am worried about outbidding the Reds, however.

    • Wes

      What’s crazy to me is that the Red Sox paid 60 mil and then traded him to pay sale 30 million a season. Red Sox are absolutely loaded! And well run

      • Kevin

        38 million TOTAL for next 3 years of Sale. That’s why the Red Sox could do that.

      • Wes

        The Red Sox pay 60 mil for rick pocello pablo sandavol and Hanley rameriz. They got 30 mil to pay sale.

  6. Slice

    Flurry of moves at Louisville…Renda, Vincej, Wooten to DL…..Irrabaren off the DL. Plus they signed Asher Wojciechowski.

    • Steve

      Looks like players in Louisville will be rotating to get a week of rest in-season from here on in.

  7. Brad

    1) No reason to believe Reds attendance will increase

    2) No reason to believe Reds will not draft in top 10 in 2-18 just yet. Lesser schedule so far. Improved team, no doubt.

    3) Im for signing Luis Robert. Just would limit it to 10-12M plus equal amount in overage tax. Reds would be better off extending own guys, buying out Arbitration and Free Agent years than spending 20M + 20M overage on a 19-year old potential star. 40M to buy out expensive years is more valuable than one potential star at this point. I hope Dick Williams, as CEO of baseball ops, listens to his International scouts and sticks to a defined value.

    • Brad

      For comparisons sake, I would have preferred to sign:

      RHSP Norge Ruiz (23) – 2M
      LHSP Cionel Perez (20) – 2M
      RF Lazaro Armenteros (17) – 3M
      3B/RF Yario Perez (21) – 1.1M
      RHSP Ronald Bolanos (20) – 2.25 M
      Total: 10.35M

      • Bill

        One thought on the players on your list … only Y. Perez has played so far. While Lazaro Armenteros is young enough to be expected to play in short-season rookie ball, the others are old enough that they should be ready to compete in full season leagues. In contrast, the players the Reds signed are playing. Doesn’t mean Ruiz, C. Perez and Bolanos won’t produce down the road, but there is a “red flag” that indicates there was good reason to pass on each.

    • Wes

      I don’t agree w ya. Reds are crazy deep in organization we need top end talent to compliment- not more depth in this particular case.

      Also when reds win our attendance is outstanding! So a signing like this will make more in the long run.

      I like Billy but I’d probably rather pay this kid 50 mill than Billy

      • Doug Gray

        Outstanding is a stretch. Good is more like it.

        Three of their four best years in attendance were in the 1970’s. The other year, #2 on the list, was 2000 – when they landed Griffey. They’ve never sniffed 3M fans. They’ve never even gotten 2.7M people.

      • Wes

        Huh. Ur right. Way lower than I thought. Guess I’m comparing crowd sizes on tv

  8. Arnold Ziffle

    Yes, it will come down to money on who gets to sign Luis Robert. But the tiebreaker might be opportunity. Which team has a faster track available to the ML for Robert. And on a team that can reach the playoffs. That might be the Reds. Plus their recent past track record with Cuban players, which has been very good, might be enough to push this deal over the top.

  9. Steve

    The Reds should coordinate with Daytona so that Gutierrez and AlfRod are not scheduled to play and along with Iglesias, head down to the D.R. next week on the day of the private workout. Our Cuban contingent with Reds management will present a strong pitch and show Robert how serious we are about signing him. I bet no other team would take current active players in their organization to make their sales pitch. Bonding with the players already in our organization may go a long way when he is considering which team to sign with. It has worked in the past with professional players who were FAs, especially in basketball. Robert being available inMay is half the battle, now we have to win the other half. DW has shown to be someone who thinks out of the box, hope he has a plan to persuade Robert to sign with the Reds that will be complimentary to the $$$.

  10. Steve

    Noticed that the Reds like to sign former high round draft picks that haven’t really made it with the clubs that drafted them and are in their mid to late 20’s to give them a last chance, so to say. Wojciechowski the latest one. Brantly, Goeddel(waivers), McGuire, Nieto, Gumbs, Landry and Stock this year and I remember Parker last year. Unfortunately, most don’t pan out and are released the same year or are not resigned the next. Good as filler players and hopefully some will figure it out when they’re with the Reds and become productive players like Kivlehan.

  11. rusberto

    Votto will keep this team down hopefully they don’t sign Robert and he is a bust I’m betting Robert won’t be what everyone is thinking he will be

  12. dan

    doug can you estimate how much he will sign for?

    if the reds sign him for a 6 year $54 million dollar contract do they need to pay $54 million in taxes as well?

    • Doug Gray

      They can’t sign him like that. He is signing a signing bonus. It’s all paid upfront. The team then gets to control him just like they would a drafted player. He’ll go through arbitration and all of that stuff once he reaches the Majors. Free agent after 6 years of big league service time.

      And I’m guessing he’ll get $12-15M, with another $12-15M going to MLB as a penalty.

      • The Duke

        If that is the cost, i’ll be disappointed if the Reds don’t offer that much.

      • Doug Gray

        Maybe I’m completely off of my rocker, too. I’m just some guy on the internet. But with the big market teams basically out of it, I think it’s going to keep the costs down a little bit.