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I reported last week – thanks to Duane’s active Tweeting – that the Chicago Cubs had signed their second round pick, high school righty Duane Underwood. What I didn’t have at the time was the amount of his signing, which has since been reported to be $1.05 million. It’s a healthy signing bonus for a second rounder, one of the highest in this year’s Draft, which is reflective of both his raw ability, and the fact that, as a 17-year-old in the second round, he had a fair bit of leverage with a commitment to Georgia. It’s also reflective of how much the Cubs must have liked him, and I’m sure they’re happy to have a deal done, even if it’s well above his $769,000 slot recommendation.

So, with Underwood in the fold, where do things stand with the Cubs’ Draft and Draft Pool? Well, the only remaining top ten round draftee is first rounder Albert Almora, who was almost certainly going to wait until the end to sign, so that he could squeeze every last dollar out of the Cubs (as he should). How much can he squeeze?

Well, even after Underwood received a healthy overslot bonus, the Cubs are still $276,200 under their pool for the 11 of 12 picks who directly count against the pool (top ten rounds). That amount, combined with the $3.25 million slot for Almora, plus the 4.99% the Cubs can go over their pool without losing a future draft pick, means the Cubs could offer Almora up to $3,922,895 without losing a future draft pick. That would seem to be plenty to get a deal done – let’s hope Almora didn’t have his heart definitively set on something that started with a 4.

Indeed, there’s already some scuttlebutt in the comments and on various message boards that the two sides have come to an agreement, pending a physical, which agreement will be announced Thursday or Friday. Given that the deadline is Friday, that was probably to be expected anyway.

It will be interesting to see how much Almora gets, and whether the Cubs can put any leftover toward a tougher late round sign like 20th rounder Blake Hickman, for example (the Rhett Wiseman ship has long since sailed). I’m sure the Cubs would prefer to keep Almora a few hundred thousand under $4 million, so they can spread that out among some later round guys. But, if push comes to shove and they have no other choice, I’d imagine they’d do whatever it took (short of losing a future first rounder) to lock down Almora.

  • King Jeff

    So, you’re saying that Albert Almora is going to sign for the Cubs in the 2012 season for the Chicago Cubs?

    (sorry, couldn’t help myself, I blame the booze)

    • MichiganGoat

      That was what I read and henced tweeted out the fact that Bert Taylour confirmed the fact. Beer is good.

      • Assman22

        The last three paragraphs are vaguely familiar….

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That would be the “comments” to which I referred. Your handle makes it difficult to mention by name. It’s also on PSD, so I described it generally.

          • MichiganGoat

            call him A–man?

          • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

            wait, youre on LSD? Puff puff give…

  • Jp

    That is really funny king jeff. I thought the same thing, is this news enough to at least post in a thread from this month?

  • Patrick G

    I have a question cause I am not sure how this works. Say the cubs DONT sign Almora, that means they would get the 6th pick in next years draft? And then lets say the Twins have the 6th worst record and would get the 6th overall pick, who gets it? How does this work?

    • Dan Fredrickson

      I’ve been wondering the same thing….. Suppose hypothetically the Cubs DON’T sign Almora, and they end up with the 4th-worst record this year. Do they get the 4th pick, AND the 6th pick? That can’t be right.

      • Drew7

        4th and 7th, I believe.

        • chirogerg

          yes It’s 4th and 7th

    • Jake

      Patrick – We would receive the 7th pick in next year’s draft if we do not sign him.

      • Patrick G

        Ok thanks, but then what happens to the team with the 7th worst record? They get the 8th pick?

        • chirogerg

          yes

  • Kevin

    Boras is bad!

    • Jim L

      It’s always easy to get pissed at Boras but if my kid was a highly rated prospect, I would want a guy like Boras working hard to get every last dollar for my kid. I don’t understand this fascination we have with saving money for the greedy owners.

      • Kevin
        • MichiganGoat

          again I caution everyone to be careful of what they read on BleacherReport its not exactly what I would call journalism.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            The comments to that article are spot on. It’s a classic case of the “good old days that never were” thinking.

            • MichiganGoat

              yeah I avoid that site, but often the comments will correct the flaws of the article. BR is just a well funded site that gets a ton of advertising and uses slick eye catching graphics and stupid top ten list.

              • Luke D

                BR sucks dong.

                I’m a journalism student and that site makes me want to puke.

                • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

                  Thought you said “BN” for a second (smack down was prepared).

                  Yeah, I agree, I too am not fond of BR… *journalism student*

              • Crazythorse BN VS BN- all is good

                Both site are fine – BN is not journalism .its a hyped up blog that caters to Cub fans. I think that is the goal of this site and that is fine. The writing is great – rainbow unicorns for every Cub fans that think upper management has no faults. I find this site enjoyable. I like BR its an informative site with colorful graphics with a large net that amuses the reader on various topics .and teams .

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  That’s a fair description of BN, at least the first part. The rainbows and unicorns only moved here in the Fall.

        • baldtaxguy

          Coming off the $252m deal, didn’t ARod have the luxury of firing Boras and negotiate his own deal? Thought the “shocking” story that he should have signed with the Mets and the move of firing Boras was for Arod’s own PR. And maybe a commission savings.

        • Drew7

          Entire story read.

          I dont know what’s more unbelievable – that the guy writing that article has a job, or that the people in the comment section actually read that garbage. It’s funny what aspects of the past the mind conveniently forgets.

          • MichiganGoat

            BleacherReport is a sensationalist site that only wants to get hits vs. actually reporting anything. They are a direct creation of what ESPN has done to sports journalism, its completely lowered the bar and makes me even more thankful that Brett puts in such a level of ethics to the reporting here on BleacherNation.

        • Jim L

          I can’t anything more than what has been said about that article and site. I’ll still take Boras as my agent.

  • Ben

    if cubs fail to sign Almora they would receive the 7th pick as compensation for not signing this years 6th pick

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    I wanted whisemen.

    • Evenbetternewsv2.0

      Why? Was it because he was a tough sign that it must mean he was better than he actually was. He isn’t worth 1st rd money. Not even close. Hickman makes more sense.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs are under no obligation to get squeezed by Boras.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Boras, on the other hand, is under an obligation to squeeze the Cubs, Pirates and any other team drafting one of his clients.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs have absolutely no obligation to overpay for Almora. If he wants to go to Miami then go to Miami, the Cubs will be just fine with the #7 pick in next years draft. Teams are not picking players who are represented by Boras because of his reputation. Agree or disagree, that is the truth!

    • Drew7

      Why do you care if the kid gets a couple hundred thousand dollars over slot? It may be the only big payday he receives in his life.

    • Turn Two

      Cubs are so high on Almora I hope they sign him. Its early but Theo and Jed appear to be right about Rizzo, they appear to have been right about Wood and they are really impressed with Almora. I will bank on them being right about him too.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Its a game he will sign. If he went to college for two years he might not get drafted at no. 6 when he came out. Then he is out a lot of cash. The interest on the 4Mil alone would make him sick if he lost out. Boras doesnt get paid if he doesnt sign. Boras does make money sending clients to college.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    No highschool kid is leaving $4 mil on the table. There are too many risks if he doesnt sign. The dollars on this drafting pool business isnt going to change. Only a fool pisses on $4 mil. If he is that stupid we dont want him anyway. U of Miami isnt the most prestigous school in the country. So its not like he is passing up an education at an ivy league school.

    • chirogerg

      UMiami is actually very highly ranked (#38 nationally). Plus they have a baseball team that is always good.

      • Josh

        Yeah but he has his eyes set on playing in the major leagues. Even if he went to Miami he probably wouldn’t go 4 years and get a degree, and once again it’s national rank doesn’t mean jack if you don’t graduate.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Id bet that the Cubs will have 4 or 5 players at next years futures game. Baez, Almora, Soler, and maybe players we get back in trades. Candelario is a wild card, i could see him at the game next year. If Hoon Ha could make it then he can.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I’d say Candelario might still be a bit young next year to make the futures game but you never know

    • Scotti

      Unless the rules have changed, teams can only have a max of two players…

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If he takes almost all the extra overslot money to sign I will be very ticked. I’m really hoping we still have an extra $250,000-$300,000 to sign some extra tough to sign guys

  • Turn Two

    Paul Sullivan’s Trib article today includes a question to Sveum about Campana going back to Iowa. Sveum says they will be talking about it over the break. In my opinion, Campana is not going to develop all that much further at triple A. His value is as high as it will probably get. Either trade him now to a contender or find somewhere he can start. We aren’t going to be trading Dejesus or he wouldn’t have sat all week for Reed Johnson, we aren’t going to be getting the return we want to trade Lahair and I doubt we find a Soriano taker. It’s time to trade him for something of value.

    • MichiganGoat

      I don’t think he has much value outside of a under performing A/AA prospect. He just hasn’t shown that he can keep his OBP at a decent level and his only value is as a pinch runner and that’s not going to get us much.

    • Drew7

      He has no value though. We’ve seen this repeatedly in the past with guys like Gathright and Ace’s favorite, Fernando Perez: speed alone wont keep you in the lineup, and speed alone doesnt warrant even a roster spot on a contending team.

      Hopefully, this will be a lesson for fans to not get too excited about a player *adding 20lbs of muscle* in the off-season.

      • Turn Two

        Drew, let me preface by saying I am not advocating to start him on our team, I am advocating to trade him to a contender as a bench player. That said, those players you mentioned were fast, Campana is a good base runner and fast. Not to mention, his bat is better than those players (while I concede it will never provide extra basehits) and those players could not run like Campana. He beats out routine outs in the infield and puts pressure on the defense the likes of which I can not remember seeing. He may be only slightly faster than the players you mentioned but he is a better base runner/stealer and has hit nearly .280 in his limited playing time. I realize it has dropped 20 points in the last month since he has been benched.

        • MichiganGoat

          I think you are blinded by Scrappy Love, its a very real thing that get all Cub fans confused with actual talent. I fell for it multiple times myself, the power of Scrappy Love is very powerful

          • Turn Two

            Scrappy love can be valuable on a contender

            • MichiganGoat

              Maybe if he can actually hit or you have such a strong bench that you can spend a roster spot on a person with only one plus skill – speed. I just think we have dramatically overvalued him and that is exactly what Scrappy Love does.

          • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

            With Reed we will succeed!

            Hope you’re doing well, Goat.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        its not that we should be concerned about the “adding muscle” as Barney did the same in the offseason and has had some success with it. It’s just that Campana does not possess the raw strength to hit the ball out of the infield in the air and consistently bunts against ML level infields. Unless you just have a horrific fielding 3B they are still better than the average AAA 3B.

        Campana would be best served going to a women’s softball team and learning to drag bunt there (this is not a slam, watch it sometime – some of the girls are three steps to 1B before they make contact) otherwise he has 0 value as anything other than a 5th outfielder.

        • Drew7

          I actually meant to add Barney to my previous post. You really feel like it has helped him? I really havent seen any evidence of that.

          • Carew

            Barney? he already has more homeruns than he had all last year, and he seems to not wear down as much

            • Drew7

              Meh… his wOBA is still .01 below last year, and his BABIP is at .279, which is where I’d think it should be given the amount of weak contact he creates by swinging at balls out of the zone, maybe a tad higher. I am enjoying his increased walks, though.

              You guys dont think he’s looking worn down, at least at the plate? Certainly not defensively, but he hasnt shown much at the plate for quite a while.

        • art

          couldn’t have said it better.

    • Kyle

      Sending him to AAA *is* finding him somewhere he can start.

  • Turn Two

    His defense is solid, above average because of his speed. His baserunning turns any late hit into the equivalent of an extra base hit and his batting average was in the 270′s when he was playing regularly. If a team is going to carry Jeff Baker, they would be better off getting Tony Campana. I think that he would be valuable to a national league contender.

    • Drew7

      First off, his defense is in no way above average. He gets terrible jumps on the ball and has a noodle for an arm.

      Secondly, his BA was held up by his failed bunts being considered sac bunts, and there are plenty of NL pitchers that get bunts down better than he does.

      A team would be much better off with Jeff Baker, who has a career OPS of .824 against LHP, in addition to the ability to play the IF as well as the OF.

      • MichiganGoat

        beat me by two minutes there buddy

        • Drew7

          That means I’m fast. Where’s my scrappy love?

      • Turn Two

        His defense is slightly above average because of his speed I said. I can see his awful jumps but he makes up for it by getting to alot more than the average outfielder. As far as his arm, a centerfielders arm is never going to be something that will be there bread and butter.

        • MichiganGoat

          I’ve got to disagree that his speed puts him in the above average category. Yes it does hide his flaws but excuse his bad routes or jumps. And his arm is hideously bad, it might be his worst attribute defensively

        • Drew7

          Sorry man, but I think you’re undervaluing good jumps and routes, in addition to arm strength. He may turn some bloop singles into outs, but hes not snaring any line-drives, gunning anyone out trying to stretch a single into a double, and ground he gains by getting to drives off the wall quickly vanishes when he 4-hops the cutoff man on the relay.

        • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

          his speed takes his fielding to average but his arm is a 30 at best. Campana is NOT a MLB regular by a long shot. I even got fooled by his speed for a few weeks but he just is not able to keep his OBP around .350 in order to have value.

    • MichiganGoat

      I just have never seen anything he has done defensively to make me agree that he is above average. Yes his legs allow him to cover more ground than many other players, but his arm is pathetic and can often barely gets to the cutoff on a deep fly ball. I see him making poor routes to ball and only is able to correct that mistake because he is so fast. I know people have mad scrappy love for him but he is just not that good and will not get us anything of value if traded. He might be the player that is added to a trade to sweeten the pot but alone he is not worth any team giving up anything of value. I’m sure if he’s traded he will become last years Sam Fuld or this years Tyler Colvin. Sorry but that is all he is…. a faster Sam Fuld/Tyler Colvin and will forever live in Scrappy Cub history.

      • Toby

        but, will it be in the Mark DeRosa or Jake Fox scrappy category?

        • MichiganGoat

          Yes he will be talked about and remembered for many years to come.

          • Toby

            It would be interesting to compile a list for a Cubs Scrappy Hall of Fame and see who gets in. Augie Ojeda should be in the initial class.

            • MichiganGoat

              Ha it was actually a project I was working on when I was trying to blog (for all of a month or two before job and life taught me how difficult blogging really is) but I just posted a thread over on the message board with this exact same topic.

            • MichiganGoat

              Look here for the first player in my list http://www.bleachernation.com/forum/index.php?/topic/80-chicago-cub-all-time-scrappy-team-doug-dascenzo/ i really should restart this list.

              • Toby

                DD should be in the first class for he was the epitome of the garbage time pitcher.

              • Turn Two

                Dascenzo was one of the best scrappy players, great call. I would put Todd Haney at the top of my list.

                • Toby

                  I’d put Lloyd McClendon on the list also.

                  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

                    and rick monday for the older guys, you know what im talking about

        • http://bleachernation loyal100more

          but not in the bobby dernier, or jody davis class of scrappy… more of the doug descenzo, dwight smith variety. which is still good company

      • Quintz

        Maybe if I was white, short and fast everybody at the office would overlook the fact that I really don’t do my job very well and have irrational love for me?

        • Drew7

          Either it doesnt work, or Im just not fast enough…

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        i really agree that he would decorate a center piece nicely… he is what a few teams would consider major league ready in a summerized roll. he is a huge luxury to have on your roster, as he is a late inning pinch runner at its finest. to have him to call on, in a one run or tied game late innings could be a huge asset. but alas no real value there but bundeled up with a garza or dempster he could be make a nicer trade possible.

    • art

      looks like no one will change how you feel about Campana.

    • ferrets_bueller

      ….did you really just cite batting average?

      Argument….lost.

  • Rich

    Hey it’s Drew7 to the rescue with no insights.

    • MichiganGoat

      okay, guess you have a beef with Drew… and how does this comment add any insight?

      • Drew7

        He’s the doctor that voices concern over Stewart electing surgery. I was a jerk in a reply to his latest post…I deserved it

        • hansman1982

          Yes you should believe random people on a blog when they spout anything. I distrust doctors but I distrust random blog commentators even more.

          • Drew7

            Well…yeah. I was just frustrated reading over and over about how Stewart could be healed without surgery and this and that (Im sure you read the same posts I did); I wasnt doubting that he was a doctor, it ws more me acknowledging the type-A personality, my-knowledge-needs-to-be-known direction of all his posts. I could have been more respectful about it though.

            • King Jeff

              Multiple doctors told me that the herniated disc in my back would heal without surgery too. Here I am two years later, a man in his 20′s who walks around most of the time like a man in his 80′s.

    • Drew7

      Fair enough. I apologize for the other day – you’re entitled to contribute your professional opinion here.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Hey Brett,

    Suggestion: Love reading your work. I heard you on a podcast, and I think you should start your own and you’d be great at it. I’d for sure tune in everyday to listen. You and Luke could be do it possibly. Maybe you could possibly take calls from some of the guys on the message board if they called in and just record it. I think it could bring more people to the site and you’d already have a pretty bigger crowd to listen. Just an idea. Brett/Luke keep up the great work!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Appreciate it, and it’s definitely something I’d like to do. But it’s something that’s very hard to be good at (in terms of dedicating the time – which I don’t have right now). Hopefully in the future.

  • Cheryl

    For those of us who are not up-to-date on the various measurements now in common voice would someone provide a few defiitions on terms such as wOBA. Thanks.

    • hansman1982

      wOBA – think of this as OPS on steroids. Measures EVERYTHING a batter does on offensive side and weights it according to its effect on scoring runs. Generally tracks with OPS but guys like Campana get a boost for his SB.

      FIP and xFIP – measures only K’s, BB’s and HR’s for pitcher performance. xFIP uses league average instead of the pitchers actual HR’s. Scaled to ERA and a good way to see how a pitcher is doing without the defense.

      For more education goto fangraphs.com and check out their glossary.

    • Drew7

      Sure, Cheryl.

      wOBA stands for Weighted-On-Base Average. It takes each outcome of an AB and weights it according to its value in scoring runs (.89 for a single, 1.26 for a double, and so on). The resulting number is scaled to resemble OBP. League average last year was .316.

      Im on my phone and im not sure how to post a link, but you can find a complete explanation in the glossary at fangraphs.com

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The one thing to add is that although wOBA is “better” than OPS in that it does correlate more strongly with runs scored by a team, it also is a lot more complex than OPS. The correlation between runs scored and OPS is only a little worse than that between runs scored and wOBA, so OPS is still a really useful approximation of run-creation.

      It is tough to have a good wOBA without having a good OPS and vice-versa.

      • hansman1982

        That’s why I said on steroids. Barry Bonds was a great hitter, add in steroids and suddenly he was one of the greatest of all time. That is OPS and wOBA in a nutshell.

      • Noah

        While I’d agree that wOBA is more complex than OPS (and agree with everything else in your post), you don’t really need to know what the weights are for each outcome to be able to use wOBA. You really just have to know the scale.

        I know you know this Doc, but the reason wOBA is superior to OPS is because OPS takes two numbers with different denominators (the denominator for OBP is PA, while its ABs for slugging) and just adds them together. As a result, it overvalues slugging. The weights for the outcomes in wOBA are designed to correct that.

        But like Doc said, for the most part, the difference in accuracy is small. However, if you took 2 guys with an .800 OPS, one of whom got there by putting up a .350 OBP and .450 slugging, and the other by putting up a .300 OBP and .500 slugging, the first guy would have a better wOBA, and by a non-negligible margin.

  • Cheryl

    OK. Thanks. i’ll also check fangraphs glossay as was suggested.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone ever notice how Albert Almora kinda looks like cristiano ronaldo? kinda bothers me lol

    • Cerambam

      [img]http://static.jspace.com/img/Dave-Franco-21.jpg[/img]

  • Cerambam

    ^ or that guy

  • BFiddy

    I was scrolling down fully intending to post the following:

    “Why did you put a picture of the third Franco brother on this article?”

    Too late by 15 minutes :(

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