The White Sox have signed outfield prospect Luis Robert to a six-year, $50 million contract extension, the club announced Thursday. The deal also includes to two $20 million team options (or $1 million buyouts) that could stretch through Robert's age-29 season and push the total value of the deal to $88 million. Robert will make $1.5 million for the upcoming season, and that figure gradually increases to $15 million for 2025. The expectation is that Robert will open the 2020 season on the active roster.

A 22-year-old native of Cuba, Robert broke out last season as he batted .328/.376/.624 with 32 home runs in 122 games across three minor-league levels, including a 47-game stint at Triple-A to end the year. Across parts of three minor-league seasons, Robert owns a slash line of .312/.381/.551 with 35 home runs, 50 doubles, and 63 stolen bases. All of that plus Robert's ability to play center is why our R.J. Anderson recently named him the top prospect in a fairly strong White Sox system. Last offseason, the White Sox signed another promising young outfielder, Eloy Jimenez, to a long-term contract extension before he'd ever played a game in the majors. Jimenez's was for $43 million over six years. 

Presumably, the White Sox would've manipulated Robert's service time this season to ensure another year of team control by delaying his call-up. Instead, Robert's extension means that he'll crack the roster to start the season, and the club can buy out two free-agent years on the back end with those options. 

It's been active winter for GM Rick Hahn and the White Sox, as they've added to the fold lefties Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and DH Edwin Encarnacion via free agency; re-upped with first baseman Jose Abreu; and traded for left-swinging outfielder Nomar Mazara. Now that Robert is ensured to be on the active roster to start the season, you may be looking at this Opening Day lineup for the South Siders: 

  1. Yoan Moncada, 3B
  2. Tim Anderson, SS
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B
  4. Yasmani Grandal, C
  5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  6. Eloy Jimenez, LF
  7. Nomar Mazara, RF
  8. Luis Robert, CF
  9. Leury Garcia, 2B

Given the Twins' possible regression atop the AL Central standings and the Indians' demonstrated lack of commitment to winning, the White Sox could indeed be a team to watch in 2020.