White Sox ‘Resisting All Temptation’ to Move ‘Best Trade Asset’

Luis Robert Jr.

Getty Luis Robert Jr.

Deep in a rebuild, there’s no question that the Chicago White Sox will once again be sellers at the 2024 trade deadline. Having traded away pitchers Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn last year and ace Dylan Cease during the offseason, the White Sox have seemingly been open to offers on all their top players — but according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, they will stop short of moving All-Star centerfielder Luis Robert Jr.

“The Chicago White Sox are resisting all temptation to trade center fielder Luis Robert Jr., who is scheduled to return in June after being sidelined two months,” Nightengale wrote on May 26. “Robert may be their best trade asset but he’s only 26 and is under team control through the 2027 season.”

Robert was limited to just 7 games this season before landing on the IL with a right hip flexor strain, batting .214 with an OPS of .741 and 2 home runs. The slugger had a career year last season, slashing .264/.315/.542 to rank 9th in MLB in home runs (38) and take home a Silver Slugger Award. Robert also received an All-Star nod for his 2023 performance and finished 12th in the AL MVP balloting.

Robert Expected to Return from IL in Early June

After suffering a Grade 2 right hip flexor strain while running the bases in a game against the Kansas City Royals, Robert has been out of action since April 5. This is the second time Robert has injured his right hip, with the 26-year-old missing over three months of the 2021 season after suffering a complete tear of his hip flexor.

The initial timeline for Robert’s recovery this season was set at 6-8 weeks. On April 26, White Sox general manager Chris Getz told reporters that the centerfielder’s return was “just weeks away,” per Sox Machine’s James Fegan, and on April 30, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Robert was “at 80% running in comeback from hip flexor strain and is taking batting practice.”

Robert began his rehab stint in the rookie-level Arizona Complex League on May 22, scoring a home run in his first swing at the plate. He will begin an official rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on May 28, per Fegan, and barring any setbacks, Robert is expected to return to the White Sox in early June.

Still, the team has no intention of rushing Robert back onto the roster before he’s ready, according to manager Pedro Grifol.

“[Robert is] strong, energetic,” Grifol told Van Schouwen on April 30. “He’s excited to come back so we’re hoping sooner than later but we’re going to take our time because we don’t want this to happen again.”

White Sox Are ‘Open-Minded’ Going Into Trade Deadline

On May 5, Nightengale reported the White Sox are “expected to trade” multiple players by the deadline, listing Tommy Pham, Erick Fedde, Chris Flexen, Mike Clevinger, Michael Kopech, and Eloy Jimenez as players likely to be moved.

If the White Sox decided to add Robert to that list and make him available at the trade deadline, there’s no question that teams would be interested in acquiring him. Robert would almost certainly garner a much larger return than a lot of other players — if not all other players — the White Sox are expected to trade, but he would be a very big sacrifice.

The White Sox are in the midst of a deep rebuild, and their 15-40 record this season harshly reflects that. The team clearly knows there’s no point holding onto valuable players that they can only utilize for another season or two, but Robert is under club control through 2027.

On May 4, Getz told Van Schouwen that no player was off the table when considering trades this season, commenting “We will be open-minded on anything to further set us up for future success.”

That open-mindedness is likely to stop just short of conversations about their All-Star outfielder, even if he is their biggest trade chip.

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