After top pick Mark Appel signed for $6.35 million this week – $1.5 million under slot – I came to the conclusion that we’d seen the cap on what it would take to sign Kris Bryant, the Cubs’ selection at number two. You can read my thoughts on that subject here.
But ESPN’s Keith Law would say I’m wrong. Indeed, in a chat today, Law said that he believes Bryant will wind up getting the biggest bonus in the Draft this year. He softens that statement – in case you were worried – by noting that the Cubs surely knew approximately what it would take to sign Bryant when they drafted him.
It’s an interesting data point in a mostly speculative exercise (did anyone outside of the Cubs’ front office know that third rounder Jacob Hannemann was going to get seven figures?), and I respect Law’s opinion on this stuff. Remember: the Cubs can make Bryant the highest paid player in the Draft and still come in under slot for the pick ($6.7 million). Given the apparent rash of over slot signings in rounds three through nine, I remain confident that the Cubs know they’ll be able to sign Bryant to a deal that doesn’t push them into draft-pick-loss-penalty territory.*
So, in some ways, whether Bryant gets $6.2 million or $6.4 million is simply a matter of optics. That said, it would be nice to get him closer to the former so the Cubs have money left over to throw at additional over slot types from the later rounds.
The timing of Bryant’s signing remains something of a mystery, too. With Scott Boras guiding the negotiations, it would be easy to say that this thing is going to go until the deadline (July 12), but I’d imagine the Cubs would like to have it wrapped up before then, so they know where they stand with the rest of their bonus pool. In other words, the signing could come soon … or not.
Eventually, though, he’ll sign. There’s too little to gain by going back to school, and far too much to risk. Jim Callis reiterated last night that there’s no concern that Bryant won’t eventually sign.
*In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ll soon be writing about where the Cubs stand, financially, in the Draft so far.