Since the current international market opened on July 2, the San Diego Padres have spent nearly $70 million dollars.
The team has replenished their farm system with a spending spree that has definitely excited the fan base.
The Padres have already spent a ton on the market, but are they done acquiring young talent?
Recently it has been reported that Cuban outfielder, Luis Robert, is just about ready to hit the open market and he could be of interest to the team.
There are some minor delays in Robert becoming a free agent, and his impending free agency isn’t assured during this signing period. Robert left Cuba in November and needs to establish residency in another country first. After that, he must wait for approval from the commissioner’s office. There is no real set time for those proceedings, and it is anyone’s guess as to whether or not he will be approved before the June 15 ending of this current international signing period.
There are huge advantages for him and his representatives in signing this period, as the rules have changes dramatically for the next period. Robert will be able to get top dollar now, but with next period’s restrictions, teams will have a hard time spending more than $4-5 million total on him.
He has a pretty good glove in left field. Check out this video and see for yourself. There are reports he could possibly play center field in the majors, but for the time being, he is being viewed as a corner outfielder.
The Padres are currently building a top-notch farm system and the young Luis Robert would be a prized addition. He has great bat speed, excellent athleticism, and his power is starting to progress as he fills out his 6’2″ frame. Last season in the Serie Nacional, before defecting, Robert put up a slash line of .401/.526/.687 with 12 homers and 11 stolen bases in 232 plate appearances. He was leading the league in OPS at the time of his departure, and at the age of 19, he looks to be really rounding into form.
Scouts have been eyeing Robert since he was playing for the Cuban under-16 team. As far as Cuban baseball players go, he is arguably the best prospect available. He dominated in the 18u and 16u leagues throughout the years, and as a 16-year-old in 2014, Robert played in the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship. In that tournament, he tied Jorge Ona for the most home runs (4) by any player in the tournament. He has always played well against higher competition, and he should progress through a major league system rather quickly.
The Padres are probably going to be a player in the Luis Robert sweepstakes, if he becomes available. He will be a costly addition though, and with the 100 percent tax, the team would have to go above and beyond to sign him. There will be no shortage of teams taking a look at this young outfielder. It might take the Padres somewhere near the $7 million they paid Ona to sign earlier this year. With the penalties, it would take the deal to $14 million, and that is nothing to sneeze at. The Padres would have to be really impressed with Robert for them to make that kind of commitment.
A.J. Preller has a special skill when it comes to evaluating talent. Or at least that is what Padres’ fans are banking on, as the team looks to build a sense of credibility in a league that has surpassed them as far as success in cultivating talent.
In this next video of Robert you will see that his power is legit. The man has great size and you have to think that he will fill out even more. You even get a glimpse of his speed on the base paths in this clip. He will not be a 30 stolen base guy in the majors, but he does have excellent speed for a man of his stature. His skill is there, and given his age, he should easily become a major leaguer one day.
The 2017 Padres will be a young team that will grow during the season. How much growth takes place in the season will dictate exactly how far this team goes. Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, and Austin Hedges give the team a great young core to build around offensively. Luis Robert is a couple of years away from being major league-ready. The team does not need to add him to their young roster, but at this point, the Padres are all in as far as collecting international talent. They will have no problem spending more money if they believe in the young man.
The international market has certainly helped shape the future of the Padres. The franchise is going from a team that neglected the area continuously, to a team that has embraced it as a key to the future. A.J. Preller is slowly shaping the Padres’ franchise for the future and the addition of Luis Robert could be significant. The young outfielder will be ready fairly soon and could develop into something really special. If he is cleared before the June 15 deadline, he will have plenty of suitors on the open market. Do not be surprised if the Padres are one of the more aggressive teams approaching Robert, despite their financial restrictions in the market. Preller is going to Prell.