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The Chicago Cubs have signed another one of their top 2012 draft picks, high school pitcher Paul Blackburn. The Northern California righty, whom the Cubs took in the supplemental first round at number 56 overall, will get a $911,700 signing bonus, which is the full slot recommendation.

Blackburn is said to have a “clean delivery,” and a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but reaches 94. He’s got the potential for three big-league caliber pitches. In other words, Blackburn is very much an “upside” pick.

I wrote a bit more about Blackburn last week shortly after the Draft:

He’s a 6’2″, 180 lbs high school senior, who turned 18 in December. You can assume he put up video game numbers in high school, because that’s what Draft prospects do. (He had a 0.93 ERA this year.) MLB.com ranked Blackburn as the 69th best prospect in the Draft. John Sickels had him at 61, and Baseball America had him at 57. Blackburn throws a fastball that sits in the low-90s, but ticks a bit higher at times. He’s got a decent curveball and changeup, which scouts think can be much better. They also believe he can add some more velocity yet, and can improve his command. He’s a great athlete ….

With this signing, the Cubs are still about $370,000 under their bonus pool of $7.933 million (and that’s not considering the extra 4.99% by which they can exceed their pool without losing a future draft pick), which will help them lock down first rounder Albert Almora, or try to entice a late round high school flyer like Rhett Wiseman.

The signing deadline is July 13.

  • Kevin

    Agree, Rhett Wiseman would be a great signing!

  • Mike S

    So with any left over money from the Top 10 Pool…we can use that on our 25th round pick? I thought they had a maximum of $100,000??

    • JoeyCollins

      Yes. The 100k limit is money that does not count against the cubs 7.9 mil pool for the first 10 rounds but if you go over that 100k mark for any player the amount you went over counts against your pool. So if the cubs save 700 to 900k they can pay their 25th rounder upwards of 1 mil.

      • Mike S

        Does the 5% of your pool money still play in effect on picks 11-40?

        • JoeyCollins

          In what way? There isn’t a pool for rounds 11 thru 40 each player can get up to 100k if we don’t sign the guy or spend less on him that extra money is just gone, but if we go over that 100k mark then every dollar over counts against our rounds 1 thru 10 pool(7.9 mil for the cubs). There are escalating penalties for exceeding that number which get severe rather quick. But if you exceed your pool by only 5% or less then the penalty is just cash(75% of the amount you exceeded by). So the cubs are probably willing to take that penalty to increase their pool to roughly 8.33 mil and can spend the extra on any of there picks.

  • JoeyCollins

    So if we can save another 200K somewhere (almora signing for an even 3mil would be nice) we should be able to offer Wiseman right around 1mil. Think this would make him forget Vanderbilt?

    • Kyle

      Maybe, but I’m not sure he’s worth a 7-figure signing bonus. He’s an interesting guy, but I think people are making way too much of him because he seems so unattainable.

      • JoeyCollins

        Good call. I trust theo and co. Have a number they think hes worth I just hope its close enough to what hes thinking. If not then oh well it was worth the reach

        • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

          I think the only reason they took a flyer on a guy like Wiseman was because if Almora doesn’t sign they can try to entice a later round guy to sign in his place. Although, I believe they lose the money slotted for Almora if he doesn’t sign, so it’s not like they would have more to spend if he goes to school. While I expect they will sign Almora, and I want them to sign him, the worst case scenario is they pick 7th again next year, and the 2013 draft is supposed to be better than this year’s draft. Not much downside to have 2 top-ten picks next year. With Soler signing, it’s like they got a 1st round pick in the fold already this year anyway. Boras won’t have the leverage he needs to hold them hostage.

          • Kyle

            Wiseman isn’t in the same universe as Almora. He’s not a replacement for Almora.

            They took him because it was the 25th round and he was kind of interesting, and they maybe hoped his New England roots might entice him to come work for the ex-Boston guys.

            He’s not some kind of amazing first-round talent who dropped to the 25th round. People have really, really overrated Wiseman.

            • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

              I wasn’t trying to say he would be a wash pickup. Just saying he was drafted and might get more focus from them if they don’t end up signing other guys. More than likely he’ll go to school. I agree, Wiseman is not Almora.

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            Plus if we don’t sign Almora we will lose that money from the bonus pool (his slot money). So, not signing Almora would hurt us in this instance. Not help us. Signing him barely under slot would give us extra money. The only thing we gain by not signing Almora is the 7th pick in the 2013 draft. That is it.

            • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

              I’m all for signing Almora to at or under his slot amount. If Boras insists for more than that and doesn’t budge, the worst thing that can happen is they get the 7th pick next year. With that pick, next year’s pool is increased that much as well. It’s a delay in getting a good young player into the system. My only point is under the new CBA, you have to work the market to your advantage. Signing Almora to a contract over slot after working to get a bunch of the other guys under slot is counter productive. If you look closely at the Cubs draft, they took guys rounds 11-40 that were higher risks so that they could maybe spend any extra money they have left to sign a few. Without being able to go way over slot, you can see the strategy they implemented in rounds 3-10, taking 4 year college guys, or injured guys with potential. Those guys all will sign at or under slot, leaving extra money to play with for the later rounds.

              • Jimmy james

                Was it extra money for later rounds or almora, we shall see

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

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    http://us.mg205.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch?.partner=sbc&.gx=1&.rand=av84livpffi5l

  • Kevin

    Giggitty! I hope this all plays out!

  • @cubsfantroy

    Is Almora even interested in signing, or is he going to college? I know I read somewhere that he is highly considering college over going pro. Anyone have any insight on that?

    • Kyle

      He’s signing. He’ll talk the talk about going to college, he’ll wait until the last minute, but then he’ll sign. They always do.

      Keep in mind that 50% of first round picks never get a single game in the majors. Outside of the signing bonus, those guys make burger-flipping money the rest of their lives. You can’t blame a kid for negotiating hard and trying to get every last cent he can to set up himself and his family for life.

    • Njriv

      He probably wont sign until the July 13th dealine. Mostly everyone is sure that he’ll sign and it was nothing more than a Scott Boras ploy to get more money for his client.

  • Kevin

    Kansas City signs #5 pick for $3.0M and Padres sign #7 pick for $3.0M bonus. How do these signings Impact the Cubs @ #6?

    • JoeyCollins

      They probably don’t. How much you get paid isn’t as affected by other picks and what they sign for in the MLB draft

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Extremely little, if at all.

    • Cubs Dude

      Scott Boras- “Theo the guy picked before Almora got $3 million and the guy after him got $3 million. It’s logical Almora should get $4.5 million. Any questions?”

  • Kevin

    No need to overpay, #7 in next years deeper draft sounds good.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    How much of a bonus do you think it will theoretically take to sign Rhett Wiseman the over slot 25th round pick? He made it seem like it would take a boat load of cash to get him. I did the math and so far we have $766,570 dollars to spend (includes 4.99% over bonus pool and the additional $370,000 from signing guys under slot. If we realistically want Rhett Wiseman which I do, we are going to have to give him a $700,000-$900,000 bonus which is a big number but I don’t know if we can afford to give him that with the almora signing in limbo and boras being his agent. I particularly also want to the 11th round pick kid OF with high upside and a couple of those 11th-15th round kids seem to be high upside intriguing players

    • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

      My guess is he wants $1million. In his case, he has all the leverage. He’s going to Vandy, and he’s a braniac. No need to sign for a small amount in his opinion. My guess is he’ll go to school and the extra money the Cubs have saved will go to some of the other later round picks that might have less leverage to go to school.

      • Cubs Dude

        I say hell with that dude Wiseman. If we did that I am sure we would lost other guys. Let’s make sure that we can keep the other guys who don’t need to be paid that much.

  • djriz

    People are overrating next years draft. According to the experts, the top of 2012’s draft looks to be better than the top of 2013’s draft. That being said, it’s about 358 days to next years draft, and a bunch can happen by then.

    • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

      That’s not what most draft experts say, Baseball America writers in particular, but I agree a year out is too far to predict either way. I’d rather see them sign Almora at slot and load up with some of the other draftees from the later rounds with any extra money they have. My hope and guess is they won’t have any money left to spend when all is said and done. Then it will just be a question of how good their scouts really are.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I know we all want Almora but is it theoretically that out of line to think we don’t sign Almora because Boras is asking for to much and we just take the 7th pick in the draft next year in what is suppose to be a much deeper and more talented draft? We could pick up a guy just as talented or from what I’m hearing more talented then Almora. Then with the extra money we would have to spend on paying Almora over slot we could make sure we sign Rhett Wiseman the 25th round kid. And the other high upside guys. I definitely want to sign Almora and just be safe but I could see a lot of upside with the other argument. Just wish Boras wasn’t his agent. I say we don’t give into Boras and play hard ball with him and only offer $200,000 over slot for Almora and thats it. He can take it or leave it. This kid clearly wants to go pro now but Boras is just manipulating the kid and trying to squeeze every dime. I would not go more then that for him, because I think this will go pro anyways.

    • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

      One earlier point made is that if Almora doesn’t sign, they won’t have any extra money to sign other guys. My use of Wiseman as an alternative was maybe not the best thing, but you are completely in sync with my other point about going into next year’s draft with two high picks if Almora doesn’t sign. The Cubs haven’t technically signed anyone yet, which is why you haven’t seen a Cubs press release on any of the guys that are rumored to have signed. Theo is real cautious with not announcing things until the ink is dry. Boras will probably drag this out until the 11th hour and hopefully the Cubs have signed enough of the other guys with the extra money left over to dissuade him from trying to negotiate over slot.

  • Kevin

    I haven’t read anything regarding the Almora negotiations, I just know he hasn’t signed yet. Maybe the Cubs are playing the Boras game too.

  • calicubsfan007

    Stupid Boras.

    • djriz

      Guy has made too much money to be called stupid, but how about:

      Selfish Boras.
      or
      Greedy Boras.

      • calicubsfan007

        @djriz: Good point. I really think he’s stupid because he doesn’t really seem to look at the big picture.

        • djriz

          I will say this, I think he cares MUCH more about himself than his clients.
          If he wants to ‘make his point’ with Almora, and the kid has to wait three years before getting his millions, who does he hurt?

          • Kyle

            Nobody’s forced to hire Scott Boras as their agent. Almora knew what he was getting into when he signed Boras. He *wanted* Boras to negotiate hard on his behalf, that’s why he picked him for his representation.

            Anyway, it’s all just chicken little mentality. He’s going to sign. They all sign.

            • Cubs Dude

              Good Point. I think 3.25 sounds about right for both the Cubs and Scotty. Do you think that these agents will be judged on how many players they got signed over slot? And if an agent has a bunch of players signed underslot it makes them look bad?

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Boras does not want to piss off Cub management over a few hundred thousand or even a couple million dollars. Ricketts has so much free agent money to spend in the next few years & Boras wants to make sure his ML clients & he get a huge chunk of those 100’s of millions.
    Almora will sign for his slot money very soon – by end of month for sure.

    • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

      That would be the ideal situation, and I fully expect that to be the case. But as a Cubs fan, I also try to see the worst case scenario. My earlier point was that the worst case scenario is not a horrible trade-off. An extra pick in the top ten of what experts call a better draft is not the worst thing in the world. I do think he’ll sign though, just showing why I think he doesn’t have much leverage. Listen, if any of you watched the MLB Draft special right before the draft, they did a fluff piece on Almora. There’s no way he let’s the MLB Network into his backyard to show him working out and talking about his deceased grandfather for the MLB Draft Special if he didn’t intend to sign.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Remember people this is all about the MONEY & we are not talking about huge dollars in this particular case. I’ll be shocked if Almora gets a nickel over slot when Boras has much bigger fish – ML free agents – come October 2012.

  • Pingback: Chicago Cubs Sign Supplemental First Rounder Paul Blackburn … | Baseball News Report()

  • cubsin

    Question: If we don’t sign Almora, we lose his $3.25 million slot. Does that also reduce the 5% excess available for other picks, or is the 5% based on the original pool number?

    • JoeyCollins

      Good question… hadn’t thought about that.

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