St. Louis Cardinals: Is Cuban prospect Luis Robert a must sign?

Top Cuban prospect Luis Robert will be eligible to sign beginning today. Do the St. Louis Cardinals have to go all in on him?

The old ways of spending for international talent are almost over. No longer can teams spend all sorts of money on international prospects like the Boston Red Sox did with Yoan Moncada and how the New York Yankees spent more than a small country on international free agents a couple of years ago.

With the new CBA, there is a hard cap on what teams can spend on international amateur free agents. However,  the last man standing who’s expected to have to be paid is 19-year-old Cuban phenom Luis Robert.

The two favorites for Robert’s services appear to be the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox. It’s also possible that his contract could exceed $20 million.

For the White Sox, Robert would represent another top prospect to add to their recent war chest of assets, from high draft picks like Carson Fulmer and trade chips like Moncada and Lucas Giolito.

For the Cardinals, they might be under a little more pressure to sign a top prospect like Robert. Why?

Well, they lost their first round draft pick when the signed outfielder Dexter Fowler. They then lost their second and third round picks due to their data hack of the Houston Astros systems.

Because they are picking for the first time in the fourth round, they may be better off trying to land a prospect like Robert. Look, Robert could be the next Moncada, or he could be the next Rusney Castillo depending on who you want to believe.

To me, because the Cardinals are without those premium picks and have the smallest draft bonus pool of any team. They should take the hit in the international pool over the next couple of seasons and go after Robert. They already signed the 19th and 20th international prospects, so they may as well land the big fish from the pond.

The Cardinals have been a machine throughout the years in developing their own players. Guys like Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina emerged as stars. That pipeline, in terms of star power, has slowed down in recent years and unfortunately, their top prospect in Alex Reyes had to have Tommy John surgery before the season began.

It’s time for the Cardinals to go all in and take the risk that Robert will be more of an Aroldis Chapman signing and less of a Castillo one.

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