GENEVA – Cougars second baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe and his identical twin brother, Luis Alexander Basabe, were offered more money if they signed with separate teams.
But they said no.
Instead, they took less to sign together with the Boston Red Sox, who beat out the Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays and the San Francisco Giants.
The pair liked the way the Red Sox staff approached them – and also the fact they could sign together.
Growing up, instead of bumping heads, they pushed one another. Then, as 16-year-olds from El Vigia, Merida, Venezuela, the dream to work their way up through the minor leagues side-by-side was in motion.
"[We] always wanted to be together," Luis Alejandro Basabe said through teammate and translator, Luis Silverio, earlier this week.
"It's very special to me because you don't see it all the time – identical twins playing the same sport and reaching the same goal together with the same team," Luis Alejandro Basabe said.
On July 9, 2016, though, the brothers were split. Luis Alejandro Basabe was traded from the Red Sox to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a package for pitcher Brad Ziegler. Basabe was named to the 2016 South Atlantic League All-Star team.
"I was so used to growing up and playing with my brother my whole career that when I got traded, it was tough not seeing the familiar face every day in the clubhouse. It took a little bit of adjusting," said Luis Alejandro Basabe, who has been in Kane County since 2016.
In 45 games with the Cougars in 2016, Basabe hit three home runs and 13 RBI.
His brother, Luis Alexander Basabe, ended up being part of the mega trade between the Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Chris Sale five months later. Among the return package, the White Sox received two center pieces for their rebuild – Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.
Basabe is now a centerfielder for the Winston-Salem Dash, the White Sox' advanced Single A affiliate.
The two brothers, now separated, still talk frequently.
"It's really cool seeing my own blood being a very well-known player in the minor leagues. I enjoy [watching] his path in the minors so far, and I can't wait to see him get to the show one day," Luis Alejandro Basabe said.
Basabe leads the Cougars in batting average with a .375 average as of Friday morning. The 21-year-old has 18 hits – second behind Silverio – in 48 at-bats through 13 games played this season.
Opposed to his prior seasons in Kane County, Basabe, a switch-hitter, says he's focused on hitting the ball the other way and keeping his swing more level instead of pulling and trying to hit for home runs.
"This year, [it's] just a better approach, recognizing pitches better and staying up the middle," Basabe said.