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Why Luis Robert, Jr. to the Dodgers (Unfortunately) Makes Too Much Sense

The White Sox have been publicly linked to shopping their star centerfielder, Luis Robert, Jr. While many speculate whether their asking price will be too steep for a player with Robert's injury history, there's a genuine argument to be made that he's good enough when healthy to offset those issues.

His 2023 season was a career year for the former top-prospect, as he submitted a 4.9 Fangraphs WAR with tremendous play in center (13 outs above average) and 128 wRC+ over a career-high 145 games played for the year. Obviously, last season was surrounded by injury-plagued campaigns, not cracking 100 games in 2021 or 2022, and he missed a significant amount of time to start this year, but he did manage to play 58 of the 60 games in the 2020 season.

So, teams are bound to be willing to test the waters for a potential All-Star at such a premium position. And what team has enough money, prospect capital, need for an outfielder, and desire to be good ASAP? The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Boo, hiss, it's boring, it's annoying, all of that is true.

The Dodgers' Big-Three at the top of their lineup is by far and away the best in baseball, much to the surprise of no one, with Ohtani hitting the crap out of fastballs on his way to a 168 wRC+ and already nearing a 3-win season per Fangraphs WAR, Freddie the Freeloader (for those Miles Davis fans) is his usual consistent self, racking up doubles and being as efficient as ever at the plate, and Mookie Betts (while having cooled off a bit after his scorching start) is still, well, Mookie Betts, just an average defensive shortstop, making him one of the most valuable players in the game.

Why not take a chance on a stellar defensive outfielder who also can mash, adding another righty power bat to go with Teoscar Hernandez in the middle of the lineup?

They have their usual treasure trove of quality prospects, with elite catchers like Dalton Rushing and Diego Cartaya, recently graduated outfielder Andy Pages, and a pair of quality right-handed arms in Nick Frasso and Kyle Hurt.

Any combination of those names (and more) would have to be included in a deal for Robert, as the White Sox' ability to keep him under a decent contract (under $30 million annually) until 2027 with a pair of club options for the final two years (with a $2 million buyout) make him both incredibly attractive to other teams and easy to hold on to for Chicago if the deal isn't right.

Of course, there are bound to be countless other teams intrigued by the Cuban slugger. His skill set as both a solid defender in center and a power hitter is uncommon in today's game, with centerfielders posting historically low OPS numbers for the season.

It'd be awesome if the Dodgers didn't end up with an even better bomb squad, and I hope it doesn't come to fruition. Still, with Ohtani signing the weird contract, it seems like it should be illegal. The Dodgers continuing their tradition of being a well-oiled machine that produces top prospects more consistently than anyone in baseball, it just makes too much sense.

Am I hoping this is a bit of a reverse-jinx situation, and Robert, Jr. either stays put or gets traded elsewhere? Maybe. Regardless, if this happens, I'll be bummed out but hopeful that LA can continue their beloved tradition of choking in the playoffs. Here's to that happening with or without Robert Jr. in a Dodger uniform.

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