The Chicago Cubs continue to open up the checkbook to sign later round, overslot draft picks. The latest player into the fold is junior college first baseman Roderick “Rock” Shoulders. The Cubs took Shoulders, 19, in the 25th round hoping that they could entice him out of a commitment to South Florida. A reported third round money offer, plus additional funds for college, did just that.

Shoulders, who was drafted by the Red Sox in the 20th round out of high school last year, was a top 20 positional player nationally in a number of offensive categories.

If nothing else, Shoulders becomes the next in a long, proud line of brilliant names once in the Cubs’ system, including such standouts as Rocky Cherry, Al Albuquerque, Mario Mercedes, and the still best of all (part-time porn star) Buck Coats.

Shoulders, it should be noted, was not expected to sign once the Cubs came to terms with seventh rounder Trevor Gretzky (another big first baseman type) and slugging 19th round first baseman Paul Hoilman – not to mention the Cubs working hard to sign second round first baseman Dan Vogelbach. Hopefully the Shoulders signing does not suggest trouble with the Vogelbach or Gretzky signings.

To the latter, Gretzky’s status recently changed from officially signed to officially unsigned. It’s unclear whether the agreement was voided by the Cubs (Gretzky is recovering from a shoulder injury) or by MLB (it was presumably overslot), but as of right now, Gretzky is not signed. Baseball America’s Jim Callis does not seemed concerned, though, and suggests an “official” agreement is a mere formality, noting that Gretzky told San Diego State weeks ago that he wouldn’t be attending in the Fall.

Perhaps Vogelbach is the one about whom to be concerned. He was known to want first round money to forego his commitment to play baseball at Florida, going so far as to circulate a term sheet before the draft, essentially saying “don’t draft me unless you’re willing to pay $X.” The Cubs did draft him, and every rumor since has had Vogelbach in the bag. I have no new information leading me to believe that doesn’t remain the case, but, the Shoulders signing does give me momentary pause. It’s worth pointing out that, although Vogelbach is strictly viewed as a first baseman, Gretzky can play some outfield, and Shoulders played third base and catcher in high school.

  • Brett

    Mini update from a Jim Callis (Baseball America) tweet:

    @bmix22 asked: Who signs w/#Cubs out of Maples, Jacquez, Dunston, Tayler Scott?

    @jimcallisBA responded: Maples maybe, Jacquez no, Dunston yes, Scott probably.

    • RoughRiider

      Maples says he’s starting college in a week.

  • ramin

    Hey guys fyi andrew cashner is at sams club in des plaines oakton and mount prospect rd signing autographs. He said hell b back in 2 weeks as a reliever

    • hardtop

      bizarre place to sign autographs.

    • Brett

      Thanks for that, ramin. For what it’s worth, Cashner has always been more optimistic about his return date than the Cubs. I hope he comes back this year only if he’s super, super healthy. Like, in a protective bubble healthy.

    • Jeff

      If you go, tell him to sign lefty only.

  • Ron

    I still think this is good news, I mean we can’t sign em all and we can always trade them.

  • http://Bleachernation Bric

    Ruck Shoulders? Thanks for confirming my suspicion that the Cubs drafting preperations look like a fantasy football draft party. Hendry, Fleita, Ricketts, and Wilken sitting around drinking beer and looking through thousands of draft eligible names for some keepers.

    Hendry: “Wikipedia says he’s Wayne Gretsky’s kid. That’s gotta be good.”
    Wilken: “Agreed. And this Rock Shoulders kid – what a name!”
    Fleita: “Definitely. But hold the f***ing phone! Al Albequrque?…It’s sounds like an old Bugs Bunny Joke! Draft him number 1!”

    • Kyle N

      Rock Shoulders. Sounds like the name of Fred Flintstone’s bowling partner. For better or worse, people won’t ever mistake your name for another common one.

    • pfk


    • pfk

      Steppenwolf Theatre ought to do a new play called, “Front Office.” It could be hilarious. You’d have a split stage with one side dark while the other is lit. On one side is the table with the Cubs cast you described. On the other side, when it lights up and the Cubs side goes dark, is the front office of a good franchise like the Phillies and they are kidding around saying, “Hey, lets call the Cubs with a ridiculous trade offer. Act like we want to give them Lee or Hamels for some really low level prospect of theirs.” Then, the Phillies side goes dark and the Cubs side lights up and they are all excited thinking they are about to steal a superstar from the Phillies for a marginal prospect. Then one of them says, “Hey, maybe they know something about this guy we don’t,” and the Cubs back out of the deal and do high fives congratulating themselves for not being “taken” by the Phillies. Sort of like a “Dumb and Dumber” of the Front Office.

      • Caleb

        I like it.

        And speaking of names, you all know of the super-awesome (yet pathetically ill-run) website: name of the year, right?

        It’s been stuck at the sweet 16 for a while now (lazy shits), but I’m currently pushing for a Taco B.M. Monster vs. Madz Negro semi-final.

        Of course, some are saying that Ebenezer Noonoo could be a dark horse challenger this year… hard to tell.

  • ramin

    He also said that he is working hard again to start for next year. Anyways he’s a very nice guy

    • Brett

      Excellent to hear. Thanks, ramin. I hope you put his autograph away somewhere safe.

  • JulioZuleta

    Brett, couple of Dillon Maples facebook posts I dont like

    couple of facebook posts from dillon maples I realllly dont like.
    Dillon Maples
    OMG I go to college in a week…
    16 hours ago


    Dillon Maples
    the NCAA says I cant have a twitter….lame
    August 4 at 8:38pm

    hopefully its just posturing but I dont like it. I also hear he’s been at football practice for the Heels

    • Brett

      Nothing to get TOO terrified about – these kids are smart enough to know how to negotiate (or, that is, their advisors are). For those who follow college football recruiting, kids also like to keep a little surprise in their announcements, and they do things like this regularly. I’m *not* saying Maples is in the bag. I’m just saying this might mean nothing.

      • http://Bleachernation Bric

        Brett, I truly hate to always being the negative anti-Ace on your web site but these comments do mean something to me. They tell me this kid’s an arrogant, self centered douche that the Cubs will throw a ton of money at, never progress past high A ball, and laugh all the way to the bank without ever looking back.

        Pena’s comments about chemistry may’ve come out of right field (must’ve been a very deep foul ball) but we should remember he’s one of the few Cubs that know a little something about chemistry. I’d be curious if, given the chance, he and Garza would go back to the Rays and what their views on B.J. Upton are. Just sayin’ we have become the Pirates. Oh wait, the salary difference, and the fan base, and the standings, and they made moves at the deadline to try to improve their club…

        • MichiganGoat

          As a teacher who has a “teacher” FB account to communicate with students and keep in touch, I can say with complete certainty that most high school kids are arrogant and often say things on FB without considering the impact of their status updates. I wish I could teach a class about on-line literacy and privacy but kids love to post without thinking it through.

          • http://Bleachernation Bric

            As a fellow teacher (are you as bored as me right now? School starts on Monday) and adjunct professor I can assure you that that is not neccesarily the case in my experience.

            I’ve had many former athletes in my classes (one of which is starting at guard for the Packers, annother is a sports anchor for CNN) and they always went to class. They also took themselves and their talents seriously. Some kids have more character, pride, and ethics than others.

            The Cubs would be wise to hire scouts that can tell the difference between attitude and desire and ego and arrogance.

            • Brett

              I choose to take a slightly longer view toward judging a kid’s character. I’m not really sure how you can tell anything worth knowing from a couple out-of-context Facebook posts.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yes I’m bored (although not certain if I still have my job since Michigan keeps cutting education and we don’t start till September). My point is more about how arrogant they can be on facebook and online. I’ve had plenty of students that are upstanding citizens but post things that make them look like selfish idiots. Ones online identity and personality don’t necessarily mirror their actually identity.

              • TWC

                MG: “Ones online identity and personality don’t necessarily mirror their actually identity.”

                Oh, REALLY? Do tell!

                • MichiganGoat

                  I’m actually a sixteen year old girl

  • Sam

    Hey Ace… I mean Brett, any word on Javier Baez?

    • Brett

      Nothing new. Only 10 or so first rounders have signed. Most wait until the deadline (Monday) so they can use as many other first round signings as possible as leverage. Haven’t seen any doubt that a deal will get done.

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  • jwn17

    I just watched rock shoulders play. He Looks like a very good player