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At last check, the Chicago Cubs had signed nine of their top twelve picks in the 2012 Draft (i.e., their picks through the first 10 rounds), and now it looks like we can make that ten, after the Cubs agreed to terms with third round pick Ryan McNeil.

McNeil, a high school righty pitcher out of California, was taken 101st overall, and is expected to receive a bonus right around his slot value of $471,000. He’ll head to Chicago tomorrow for a physical, before finalizing his contract and likely heading to Arizona.

The 18-year-old sounds pretty excited to get his professional career underway.

“It’s pretty surreal actually. I don’t think it’s really going to set in until I get there and start playing. I’m kind of just trying to have a level head about it and go with an open mind and just be excited,” McNeil told KSBY. “I know that not a lot of guys have an opportunity to do that and just you know live it up.” (There’s a nice video of McNeil at that link, too.)

With McNeil essentially signed for slot, the Cubs remain about $425K under their bonus pool (plus another $396K if they’re willing to exceed their bonus pool by up to 4.99% (and pay a tax, but lose no future draft picks)), so they’ve got plenty of extra cash to play with in order to lock up first round pick Albert Almora, and second round pick Duane Underwood. The Cubs could also throw some extra cash at a later round pick or two.

Speaking of which, the Cubs have also signed 18th round shortstop David Bote out of Neosho County, a JUCO in Colorado. Bote received the full $100K signing bonus, plus money for college tuition (a relatively standard incentive to get guys over the top and sign)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I think the odds are good the Cubs will sign all of their top twelve picks, although I’m sure Scott Boras will leave us hanging until ten minutes before the deadline.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yup. I have no worries about Almora, and only teeny, tiny worries about Underwood.

      • djriz

        It is now time for Albert and Duane to grab their ‘advisors’ by the earlobe, pull them close and YELL….”I’m ready to play”…..

        Has anyone else noticed that players that get some playing time (more than 5 games) during their draft years settle in to their first full season better?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It could just be selection bias, but I do feel like I’ve noticed that, too.

          • hansman1982

            I am surprised that noone has done a study on that – kids drafted #A overall who sign within B days make C amount more than people who are drafted from B through D days, etc…

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Sounds like a BP article to me.

    • MichiganGoat

      I’ve been impressed with how smoothly everything has gone with these slot amounts. I really expected more agents to push for some players to be over slot, but so far it seems that most players and agents are accepting the slot recommendation without too much fuss. I’m still unsure how this will impact the overall game and draft in the coming years, but so far things seem to be going simpler than I expected.

      • ETS

        Maybe a benefit of the new CBA? There really isn’t a ton of room to argue for increases or decreases.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I was thinking the same thing. If everyone starts taking slots, in the future will the kids even need an agent? That would be what like 10-20% more in their pockets?

      • hansman1982

        agree, this also bodes well for the trade market with prospects – teams may be a tad bit more relaxed in giving them up knowing that the amatuers have adjusted their expectations

  • JB88

    I was really hoping they’d manage to save enough to sign Rhett Wiseman, but that is looking less and less likely.

  • MightyBear

    Brett/Luke

    Do you gentlemen think they could sign Wiseman with the extra dough they might have? Please advise.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not unless Almora comes in well under slot.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        How much do you think it will take to sign Wiseman? $600,000? $800,000? +1,000,000!?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Or if he signs for slot, Underwood signs for slot, and Wiseman is willing to take $800K (I doubt it – and I’m not sure the Cubs want to offer that much anyway).

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Brett/Luke,
          If the Cubs signed Almora and Underwood to exact slot? That leave $821,000 left to spend. What are a couple other tough to sign guys besides Wiseman who the Cubs would think about spending that on. I think I would spend $800K on Wiseman. Couldn’t they technically give him, 100K for his slot total + $800K = $900K bonus and they could possibly offer college money too I think? How could the kid say no to all that money?

          • JulioZuleta

            Again, Wiseman is not worth $1 million just bc he’s asking for $1 million. He’s a 3rd to 4th round talent asking for compensation round money. Last year people outside the organization thought it was crazy to give $1.1 million to Dunston, who is a similarly raw speedy high school centerfielder (Take note ESPN and MLB Network. Black/White comps are possible). Wiseman isn’t close to the prospect that Dunston was/is.

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              I’d still be willing to give Wiseman around $800K to get him to sign, as long as we could get Almora and Underwood to sign for slot value and nothing more. And first of all Wiseman is a different type of player then Dunston. Both player CF but Wiseman will definitely be move to a corner OF spot. He doesn’t have the speed of Dunston but has more raw potential power and a better contact hitter and better bat speed. He can still prob player center as he grows but more of a very good defensive corner OF, kind of like a David Dejesus (can play a decent center but is good defensive corner OFer). I agree he was a 3rd-mid4th round talent but after 2 years of college or development this kid could have bottom 1st round talent potentially. There is more upside then people think. I know its risky to give a guy around $800K but if the Cubs were able to get Almora and Underwood to sign for slot value then who else of tough to sign talents do they have to spend that money on. Pretty much all the 11th-40th round guys can be signed to under $100K, beside for Wiseman, and most the other 11th-40th questionable tough to sign guys have been signed already

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Kind of disappointed we didn’t sign McNeil to at least a little bit underslot. Would have been nice to have the few extra dollars because they add up. But I really hope the Cubs stick it too Boras and Almora and don’t budge and give him anything more then $100,000 tops over slot. Boras and Almora are all show, the kid doesn’t want to go to college. This kid is all baseball from what I hear and wants to go pro now, and he’s just trying to squeeze more dollars. Almora guess what! If you sign with the Cubs and start your pro career as soon as possible and start that development now, you’ll get closer to making the big bucks in the future!!!

    But on a separate note the reason why I don’t want the cubs to budge on give even a little bit overslot for Almora or Underwood is because I want Rhett Wiseman!!! The 25th round kid! My cousin who lives Eastcoast and has played against the kid say the kid is a monster! People over there think he’s way underrated because he played high school ball on the east coast and those kids get a bad rap because scouts think its weaker competition and play. My cousin says he won’t blow you away with his physical skills in terms of speed but has a good arm, the bat just flys off his bat and has a grinding out at bats approach which is encouraging for a young player. Really want this kid and I think its going to take around $800,000 to sign him.

    • Boogens

      I don’t have any iside information but I think it’s going to take a lot more than $800K to keep him out of Vanderbilt. That’s why he slipped so low. It was expected that it would take paying him well overslot in a much higher round so it’s doubtful that he’ll settle for that low an amount. Like you, I’d love to see it. Maybe this is where some of Theo’s east coast charm can help. ;-)

      • djriz

        I don’t have a horse in this race, but doesn’t the fact Wiseman has a ‘number’ indicate he isn’t ALL that sold on Vandy?

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I guess anything could happen, but I’m pretty sure Wiseman already said “I’m 100% going to Vanderbilt”.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            He did, but it was couched in a “there was a number me and my parents decided I could accept, and since I don’t expect to get that, I’m 100% going to Vanderbilt.”

            • hansman1982

              maybe he needs college to work on his grammar…

  • Spriggs

    Does anyone know how this money for college works? Does the new CBA make any references to it at all or are there any limitations/restrictions on its use? I’m thinking the money could be fairly significant.

    • MichiganGoat

      I right there with you, I’m sure someone here will be able to answer these questions.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yeah, here is your “college money”. It should be enough to get you through 5 years of Harvard. Hope that helps us sign you.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        This is too long, didn’t read, but I think it describes the plan in full
        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/scholarship.jsp?content=guide

        • Spriggs

          Thanks… the link only applies to contracts before 2007, but I assume that for the most part, it’s still intact. In summary (I didn’t read all of it):

          Only legitimate college expenses incurred are reimbursed.
          Doesn’t cover graduate school.
          Maximum of 8 semesters can be covered.
          Maximum reimbursements are spelled out in each contract. Anything over that is not reimbursed.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not sure of the details, but it does not count against the draft pool.  In the past, I think, the money was paid directly by the team to the college without the player ever touching it.

      • MichiganGoat

        I’m sure thats the case but when if your scholorship payment is greater than the tuition you get that money back. For “expenses”… for me that was rent and way too many social activites and drinks. Thats why I find this as a great way to add money to a high school draft pick. Hey buddy here is $400,000 now and if/when you go to college here is another couple million.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that you could just offer a kid $1 million “for college.” I’m pretty sure it’s a specific program like Luke described.

          • MichiganGoat

            I know you weren’t and I see it as a great thing to offer, but I do think it is another cash incentive to get HS to sign. It gives the HS prospect more of an incentive to sign (which is great) but it does kind of adds to the “slot.”

  • MichiganGoat

    “Bote received the full $100K signing bonus, plus money for college tuition (a relatively standard incentive to get guys over the top and sign) ”

    Okay I’m confused, so they can get the “slot” bonus and also get tuition? I thought that tuition money was part of the bonus pool. Who is the tuition figured, is it basically like a trust fund/college account for if they bust as a prospect? What happens to that money if they make the show and get a MLB contract? Is this a way to increase the bonus pool without being penalized?

    Okay enough questions.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My understanding is that tuition money is the one extra financial incentive you can give them.

      I am open to correction, though.

      • MichiganGoat

        There has got to be some restrictions, otherwise this is a great way to add bonus money to get someone to sign. “Okay we can only give you $400,000 in bonus money but we will give you 1M to go to college **wink, wink** – how is that monitored?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I’m nearly certain the team pays the funds directly to the college when the time comes.  The player does not have access to that money.  The amount could vary depending on the college, but all the player will get from it is an education.

          I’m not sure if teams cover graduate school as well, or just through a bachelors.

          • MichiganGoat

            As I stated above, most college funds take into account “living expenses” and the fund pays the school each semester and then the excess goes back to you for those “living expenses” in some way this will become extra cash in hand for the signee. I’m all for it giving a prospect a college fund to get and education and live comfortably is a great thing, and a great reward for a HS athlete (its basically giving them the scholarship they would have gotten if they went to college), but if the CBA was to prevent over-spending this might just be the loophole that many are looking for.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              I doubt there is any loophole here.  College tuition has been a fairly standard part of high school draftee contracts for a number of years, and I can’t think of a single case of it ever being abused to smuggle more money to the player.  Whatever the details are, the league has it pretty well locked down.  I sincerely doubt any team will be able to abuse it to ship an extra million or two under the table without Bud Selig finding out about it and imposing some serious penalties.

              In the sense that college funds are not counted against the caps it is a loophole of sorts, but it certainly isn’t any sort of a secret or something we have any reason to believe teams can abuse.

              • MichiganGoat

                I’m not saying they are sliding money under the table, but instead that it is extra cash (used for education and educational expenses) that the player has available. I don’t see it as nefarious loophole, but as you said a loophole nonetheless. I doubt Emperor Bud would ever touch an educational tuition incentive. The real plus to this is I see this as benefiting a team’s ability to sign a high school player.

                If you’re a high school player here are you options:
                1-Accept a scholarship to a major university and hope that you’re good enough to keep that tuition throughout the course of you education. Play and study at the same time.

                2-Get drafted, take a $100,000 cash bonus, have a college fund that will be for your education if you do not make it professionally, eventual go to school without the pressure of playing and learning.

                So what would you choose?

            • Ron

              I would guess that it works like the post 9-11 TO bill where you are granted the amount of the in state tuition of the state school, example University of Tennessee. The payments are made directly to the college and the awardie cannot access it for other purposes. There is also a living expense portion that is basic E-5 pay.

            • Chris

              It’s tuition only. It’s not state specific. The player already received pay for being a player, so there are not additional living expenses given. Even before the new CBA, these perks were given frequently. In fact, a year or so ago Shawon Dunston Sr. was trying to get the Cubs to pay him out for his college tuition. The reason he never got the cash was because it was always only meant to be given directly to a college, and he has no intentions of going back to school.

        • ETS

          Totally guessing here, but they probably link the amount you can give in such incentive to some sort of college pricing index.

          • hansman1982

            I am guessing as well but I would say it is tied to the $ amount of the chosen school’s actual full-ride scholarship so it is the exact same thing the school is offering.

  • ETS

    Is that pronounced like “Boat”?

  • MightyBear

    The major league team could put in a 529 fund and earn some interest. Then when the kid goes to college the tuition is paid out of the 529 fund, if he/she doesn’t go, the money goes back to the team. I’m sure there are limitations on the amount deposited and it could be on a per year basis. The 529 fund is tax deferred.

  • CBP

    So excited for tonights game that I even DVR the game

  • Kyle

    Interesting note about the money for college. A guy on another board who works in scouting said that something like 80% of high school signees never use their college money. Apparently, there’s a time limit on using it after you are released by your original organization, and most of these guys would rather try to catch on with another team than go straight to college.

  • Bails17

    Yup…that is true. I never used my college money and it expired in like 3 yrs. I can’t remember the exact way it went down. But most guys just don’t use it.

  • Kevin

    If the Cubs signed Almora and Underwood to exact slot, that leaves $821,000 left to spend on Wiseman. Throw in tuition and he should sign.

  • josh

    whats the word on duane underwood? ive heard all about almora and the boras bs. i think he signs, and hopefully we can get him for 3 mil like the picks above and below him signed for. but in any event, is underwood asking for above slot, im really just curious what the hold up with him is and i havent heard anything about it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s a safe bet that, given he’s still un-signed, there’s negotiation going on. That suggests, at least at first, he’s asking for more than slot.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Well, heres to guessing Boras makes it his personal mission to promise to get 5% on every pick he does. Should be easy with Appel, now.

  • North Side Irish

    There is a -40% chance the Almora signs for slot, let alone under. Can we please stop that speculation? More likely that all these pool savings are going to him.

    I feel like Wiseman has been seriously overestimated…intriguing yes, but not worth seven figures. I’d rather see the Cubs sign Hickman than Wiseman.

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    How much would Hickman cost?

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    What was rhett wiseman’s amount he could accept.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hasn’t been reported, and it’s not like he’s going to tell the world.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    this has been going on for a very long time. I got money paid directly to IU to finish my degreee and that was in the 80’s. I left after two years and then went back and finished. It was 100% paid for. Everything room and board, meals the whole nine yards.

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