- The Braves have interest in Robert, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “Through the hard work of our international department, led by Gordon Blakely, we are in every game,” says GM John Coppolella. “We like Robert, and so do many other teams, so we will see where it goes.” O’Brien notes, though, that the Braves are “unlikely to get in a major bidding war” for Robert. The Braves were among the heaviest spenders in international free agency last season (nabbing top prospect Kevin Maitan and others), but can still make Robert whatever offer they like before mid-June, albeit with penalties for exceeding their bonus pool.
- The White Sox, Padres, Cardinals, Reds and Astros are among the favorites to sign Robert, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes, echoing previous reports. Sanchez also lists the Athletics as a possibility, noting that the A’s have spent heavily on international talent (including Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros) since July and have “strong interest” in Robert. Sanchez further notes that the A’s took the rest of MLB by surprise by signing another Cuban outfield phenom, Yoenis Cespedes, in 2012. Sanchez also tweets that A’s GM David Forst and other team officials are in the Dominican to scout Robert.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak confirms his team is interested, according to Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I know the math,” Mozeliak says. “I think we’ll be in the game.” The Cardinals think he is a “rare talent” who would be worthy of a top draft choice if he were eligible for the draft, Goold writes. Like other teams likely to be involved in the bidding, the Cardinals have already spent heavily on international free agents this signing period, giving seven-figure bonuses to outfielders Jonatan Machado, Randy Arozarena and Victor Garcia as well as pitcher Johan Oviedo.
- The Padres have also confirmed their interest, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We have seen him multiple times and will continue to scout him aggressively until he signs,” says Padres international scouting director Chris Kemp. Including penalties, the Padres since July 2 have already spent an amazing total of nearly $80MM on a large collection of international amateur talent headlined by Cuban lefty Adrian Morejon. Lin notes that sources tell him the Padres might not have much more to spend on amateur talent after such an incredible expenditure (although it should also be noted that the team’s international spending has been balanced by a remarkably cheap big-league payroll). The Padres might see Robert as a special opportunity to add top talent, however, particularly given that their ability to spend will be restricted once the current spending period ends.
- At his Twitter page, Baseball America’s Ben Badler has videos explaining which teams look most likely to sign Robert and which teams don’t seem likely. One obstacle for some teams, Badler notes, is that they already have unofficial deals in place with players who are not technically eligible to sign until the start of the next signing period on July 2. Signing Robert before that would cause those teams to incur penalties, thus jeopardizing existing agreements. Such deals are not binding, but backing away from them would be seen as negotiating in bad faith.