Report: Chicago Cubs and Kris Bryant Far Apart in Signing Talks

Kris BryantKris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs’ top pick in the Draft this year, is one of very few first rounders remaining unsigned, and most of those around him in the Draft came to terms a long time ago.

That, alone, is no reason to worry. As a junior represented by Scott Boras, the negotiations were always expected to take a while with Bryant. But a report today from Jon Heyman suggests there are actual issues in the negotiations, with Bryant’s camp (represented by Scott Boras) wanting the Cubs to go over the $6.7 million slot value for the number two pick, and the Cubs looking to sign Bryant for closer to $6 million, which would leave them some room to take some shots at over slot types later in the Draft. (For more on where things stand in this regard, see this post.)

The Cubs recently wrapped up their other picks in the top ten rounds, meaning that they know where they stand in terms of penalties if they fail to sign Bryant. Fortunately, if the Cubs fail to sign Bryant, it looks like the Cubs would not be at risk for losing a future draft pick, based on the deals they’ve made with players in the top ten rounds already (that includes the shrinking of the allowed 5% overage). That assumes, however, that the Cubs haven’t already inked any over slot deals with players after round 10, and don’t have any intentions to do so.

In that regard, the real battle here isn’t about $700,000, which the Cubs can surely afford. The battle is about how much the Cubs can give Bryant without mucking up their Draft plans. If Boras gets too grabby, there could be an issue

That said, I still believe the Cubs fully expect to sign Bryant at least slightly under slot so that they can (1) sign, officially, 12th round high school pitcher Trevor Clifton, who has already said that he’s receiving “third round money” to sign with the Cubs, and (2) have a little money left to take some shots with guys they took later in the Draft. I can’t possibly believe the Cubs didn’t know, with some certainty, the range it was going to take to sign Bryant when they drafted him in the first place. A worthwhile reminder: the Cubs could still make Bryant the top paid pick in the Draft (Mark Appel got $6.35 million), AND get him for under slot.

The Heyman report doesn’t really worry me at this point, particularly given Heyman’s closeness to many, many Scott Boras rumors over the years. Boras wants to get the most money for Bryant as possible, and he knows the Cubs might have some extra money to play with by the signing deadline (July 12). These negotiations will probably continue on for a while, and Bryant will probably get as much as the Cubs have left to give at that point. The risk of Bryant not signing is close to zero.

But that won’t keep us all from feeding on the drama for a couple more weeks …

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

152 responses to “Report: Chicago Cubs and Kris Bryant Far Apart in Signing Talks”

  1. calicubsfan007

    I really really really cannot stand Boras…

    1. JulioZuleta

      Scott Boras is pretty fantastic at his job. Sometimes his dick-ness comes back to bite him, but in general, he’s the best there is.

      1. 5412


        One of the basic rules of negotiating is that you must always keep the long term in perpsective. If you negotiate like it is a one shot deal…and then want or have to negotiate with the other party down the road it can get ugly.


  2. JulioZuleta

    I’ll take the #3 and #4 pick in next year’s stronger draft.

    1. hansman1982

      well, sadly, if we don’t sign Bryant I think that loses us the non-#3 pick in next year’s draft.

      If it doesn’t, I hope we grab him and just pee all over his parade, which is the reason he will sign this year – unless he has a better year next year than this year, he would HAVE to go #1 to make the risk worthwhile and even then he wouldn’t be guarranteed to receive more than he would have this year.

      If he get’s too grabby this year, the odds of him going #1 overall next year are very slim.

      1. X the Cubs Fan

        Brett said the Cubs should have enough money if they dont sign Bryant to afford the contracts they already made

        1. Coop

          Except that does not include Clifton or Alamo – both of whom we really want to sign (and maybe already have – just not officially announced). I think not signing Bryant would end up in complete disaster – but I am not worried – I think the FO has this under control and this is just a little extra posturing from Boras.

    2. Jp3

      Is that what we’d get is the 3rd pick and whatever we end up with for this season? I think that would be fitting if he doesn’t sign, goes back to school, shows some sort of minor flaw in his game and drops to the cubs at say the 6th or 7th pick…. I’d love to see Borass have to come begging back to the table for the same cash he spurned from them this year… He’s great at his job but he can eat kitty litter for all I care.

      1. LWeb23

        **Used kitty litter**

      2. JulioZuleta

        Yeah, you get the pick after the pick that didn’t sign. If the #1 overall pick doesn’t sign, the next year that team gets the #2 overall pick.

    3. Edwin

      The Cubs might be able to get more talent if they do that, but would that be worth the loss of a year of development?

    4. CubbiesOHCubbies

      I’m not sure where I read it, but I thought it said a team can not re draft a player that they failed to sign the year before. Maybe someone can confirm the truth or lack there of.

      1. BT

        they can only resign him with his permission, I believe.

  3. Justin

    Just curious if Boras representing Appel and allowing a guy who got drafted behind him (Bryant) to get more than Appel would be frustrating to the Appel camp? I know that Appel agreed before the draft to a deal, but something doesn’t seem right with it when the same guy represents both.. I know Bryant can go back another yr and all, but still…

    1. pete

      That occurred to me also. I know that there are different variables involved for each guy but I would not be happy if I was Appel and that is how it all plays out.

      1. KidCubbie

        Boras has a reputation to uphold. I think that if he gets the 2nd pick in the draft more money than the 1st then he would loose some face with his clientle. I believe he is just trying to get as much as possible out of the Cubs but i doubt it will exceed what Appel signed for.

    2. SenorGato

      I would guess that Appel doesnt care as much as we hope he does. Plus, a little late to leave Boras after the draft and a little soon to do it otherwise.

  4. oswego chris

    wow…a post intensive morning…

  5. macpete22

    They said the same thing about the Cubs and Almora last yr too. I’m not worried

  6. Bwa

    If the FO messes this up try should all be fired.

    1. someday...2015?

      As stated above, if they fail to sign Bryant the Cubs will get next years #3 pick. Honestly the Cubs are in a great position. He doesn’t sign, we get two top five picks in next years draft which is much stronger then this years. If he does sign then we get the big 4 of Almora, Baez, Soler, and Bryant that we all dream of. Win-win

      All this is irrelevent though seeing as in the Cubs will sign Bryant. Like Brett said, this is nothing the Cubs didnt expect from Boras.

    2. DarthHater

      Let’s just fire everybody now and let god sort it out.

      1. Jp3

        Call the coroner and let him identify the bodies. Hell yeah Darth… Wait what happened?😜

  7. When the Music's Over

    There’s so much risk in going back, I just don’t see how he doesn’t sign for somewhere near slot.

    If he drops to #5 next year, a mere three spots down in the draft, yet still a wonderful slot to be drafted in, his slot value using this year’s figures drop about $3M to $3.8M. I don’t see under any scenario how that steep risk is worth being a total hardass for a few extra $100K. Boras and Bryant will come around. He will get signed.

  8. oswego chris

    I wouldn’t be concerned about this at all….Boras evil reputation aside, many teams other than the White Sox can deal with him quite well…it’s funny that people automatically think “ooooh, no Boras!” he is good at what he does, but this deal will get done…

  9. Adarecub

    Can someone confirm that we get the compensatory pick next year if he doesn’t sign

    1. bbmoney

      Yes. I confirm it.

      But depending on any overslot guys taken 10th round our later, there is, in theory a chance we’d lose our regular first round pick last year. For instance, we couldn’t give Clifton round 3 money if we don’t sign Bryant if we don’t want to lose our regular first round pick.

    2. BluBlud

      Yes we get the pick. I don’t think the Cubs are in as bad of a situation as people think. Obviously, they may lose Clifton is Bryant doesn’t sign, But if he does, the Cubs will have 2 top picks in next years draft.

  10. North Side Irish

    I have no doubt he’s going to sign…I worry more about who the Cubs are going to lose due to Bryant’s bonus. Obviously Bryant is the most important piece here, but I’d like to see the Cubs be able to sign as many lottery tickets as possible.

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I want Jeremy Martinez in the fold. It will suck if we don’t get him because of this.

      1. gocatsgo2003

        Pretty sure he was unlikely to sign regardless of any other events. That’s why a top 250ish talent slips until the 37th round.

      2. DarthHater

        I think the Martinez train has already left the station, bound for USC.

  11. mdavis

    it’s all posturing. i’m not concerned in the slightest.

  12. BluBlud

    Boras is good at what he does, and he has no allegiance to the Cubs, so he should try to get his client all he can. However, Boras is also a very smart man who knows all the risk of not signing, even if it means he has to take $700,000 underslot. Bryant does not wanna go back to school. I’m not convinced that he even gets 6mil. 5.6-5.8 is where this will all settle in my opinion.

    1. bbmoney

      Yeah, I agree. I don’t know exactly what he’ll sign for, but he’d have to be pretty much 100% sure he’d be the #1 pick next year (by most accounts a stronger draft) for it to make any sense for him. Even then, which is no sure thing, he’d have no leverage next year being a college senior, so he might still have to sign for less.

  13. cms0101

    I’m all for MLB trying to secure cost certainty for drafted players, and penalizing teams that do not abide by the rules. But I really think they need to take things a step further. Players should register for the draft, if they really want to be drafted and have intentions to sign. Let them pull out at the last minute like the NBA does, but once you’re drafted, that team holds your rights for xx number of years, so you can’t go back to school and then just re-enter the draft later. Either you register for the draft as a high school kid or college junior, or you don’t. College seniors are just automatically entered. If you’re drafted and don’t sign, the team holds your rights for 4 years. Obviously, there would be some logistics to work out, but that’s got to be better than this cat and mouse game. Simply penalizing the teams when they go over the slot amounts isn’t enough, in my opinion.

    1. BluBlud

      I have mentioned this multiple times when the CBa first came out. I think they need to go even further then you do. In the NBA, there is a set amount of money you get depending on where you are drafted. The money is set long before the draft takes place. #1 pick get this A amount. #2 pick gets B amount and so on. No more, or no less. Also, once you are drafted, you can not go back to school. That is a NCAA rule, not an NBA rule. It funny how the NBA has one set of rules for one sport, but a different set of rules for a different sport.

      1. BluBlud

        It funny how the “NCAA” has one set of rules for one sport, but a different set of rules for a different sport.

        1. cms0101

          I don’t think it’s the NCAA. I think the MLB could put a registration process in place as part of the draft without the NCAA’s involvement. Logistically, I think it would be prohibitive to maintain the lists of players in and out of the draft, just because of the sheer numbers of kids all over the country. I would have to guess that is why this hasn’t come together in the past.

      2. wvcubsfan

        I’m not sure it’s the NCAA that has the rules different or the professional league. I think the reason that no one goes back to college after being drafted is that they are more than likely no longer eligible for reasons other than being drafted. They’ve either hired an agent, blew off classes and aren’t academically eligible, or have taken endorsement deals and therefore aren’t “amateurs” anymore.

        Even if the amateur status is bogus anyway.

    2. Edwin

      I like the fact that the players getting drafted actually get some leverage. For the next 6 or more years, these players will have almost zero negotiating rights. This is their one chance to earn a big payday off of their percieved talent. I think they should be able to make the most of it.

      1. cms0101

        There are no easy solutions, and I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon, given the extensive changes that took place in the last CBA. I just feel like forcing players to decide if they’re in or out of the draft is the better way to go. I’m fine with players having negotiating rights. In principal, I think the pool structure as constituted could stay in place. Allow players in the draft the ability to negotiate final dollars on a signing bonus. Just take away the leverage of going back to school. If you don’t feel you’re going to get drafted high enough to get the money you’re looking for, pull out before the deadline. Don’t waste a team’s draft pick. The MLB draft is not very comparable to the NBA or NFL, so I don’t think they can copy every element of either league. But having a definitive pool of players to draft from seems like a realistic request. It’s never going to happen, but since this topic came up I thought I’d throw out my thoughts.

  14. curt

    but Brett dosent any negotiation involving Scott boras make you worry, and wouldn’t boras wonder if a 12th round pick is getting 3rd round money wht isn’t my client the 2nd round pick getting overslot money too.

    1. BluBlud

      It doesn’t work that way, and Boras kows this. In fact, I’m sure Boras, or at least his agency, has a couple of those 12 round picks, himself. He knows the game. Boras will play hardball, but will make the smart move in the end. Remember his $50 million dollar demand for Strasburg? I think he settle for 10 or 15mil in the end.

    2. Luke

      That 12th round pick was only a 12th rounder because he was considered tough to sign. He’s not a 12th rounder on talent, and Boras is smart enough to know it. That argument would hold no water.

  15. Jp3

    There is no way we would sign him and risk losing a 1st rounder next year right? I like him as a prospect but if you ask me would I rather have him this year and no 1st rounder(in the top 7) next year is say let him walk and bet he doesn’t have a better year next season.

  16. JB88

    Nice of Heyman to let Boras write a column for him …

  17. cubsin

    I now expect Bryant to sign very close to the deadline, but I do expect him to sign. The final call has to be his, not Boras’, and he’s very likely to get a smaller bonus if he re-enters the draft next year. Also, he’ll be closer to arbitration and free agency if he signs now. I just hope Boras being Boras doesn’t keep the Cubs from signing Clifton and Alamo by waiting until the last 60 seconds to get Bryant signed.

    1. cubchymyst

      I don’t remember where, it might of been here, but I saw that the Cubs are currently 45K under the 5% overage on their current signings. There would be no late round over slot for the Cubs if Bryant does not sign.

      I also find it interesting that this came out shortly after the other 9 top 10 picks signing bonus have been announced. So now Boras knows how much extra slot money is left.

  18. calicubsfan007

    I have a question. If, for example, the Cubs weren’t able to sign Bryant and then end up with the worst record (knocking on wood, fingers crossed, etc. So that neither happens.) this year, is it possible for the Cubs to have a first and second overall pick combo?

    1. Luke

      I’d be first and third, not second, but yes.

      That’s not exactly a desirable scenario, though. The top picks of next year’s class will likely be represented by Boras so we’d just be back in the same spot 12 months from now.

      Besides, I’d rather have Bryant in the system this year than hope for something equivalent in the draft next year. The overall depth of the 2014 draft looks stronger, but that does not mean the talent at the very top will be better. That remains to be seen.

      1. Edwin

        Nice points.

      2. SenorGato

        Finally someone mentions that parroting that the 2014 is considered stronger means a lot less than we think. Basically, go ahead and name a prospect and its not nearly a given that he is in Bryant’s league.

        1. Edwin

          And even if the player was in Bryant’s league, all it would mean is that the Cubs would have lost a year of development to draft a player who is basically the same as what they would have had the previous year.

          The only way the “extra” first round pick scenerio works out well for the Cubs is if they draft a player head and shoulders better than Bryant, and that would be hard to do.

      3. Kyle

        I can’t imagine the nightmare of trying to sign two top-3 picks with savvy agents. They’d both be clamoring for overslots into the other guy’s pool.

        You are almost forced to take a cheap, easy sign with one of them.

        1. SenorGato

          They…ah I wont say it.

  19. Rudy

    It doesn’t make any sense for Bryant. He has no leverage… We just saw Appel have to sign well under slot because he was a senior and had no leverage (It still worked out for him because he was drafted 8th last year so he almost doubled up). Bryant already has that type of $$ on the table this year and if he doesn’t take it he will, like Appel not have much leverage again next year, even in he does go number one. Then what’s he going to do?… not sign again and play independent ball while he could already be in the majors had he signed with the Cubs this year?

    I have no worries about him not signing.

  20. Rich H

    I can not understand how Appel is still with Boras at this point. With the kid from Indiana State getting more than Appel turned down last year and now Bryant trying to get more money at 2 than he got at one I would be so ticked off. Boras has cost that kid a year in his development and possible arbitration money. At what point does all these Boras advisory roles start costing him top players?

    1. SenorGato

      Manaea didn’t getmore than Appel turned down last year.

      1. Rich H

        He reportedly passed up 2.8 last year and Manaue got 3. That sounds like more to me.

        1. SenorGato

          Both your facts and names are wrong. While 2.8 is less, that is not what Appel was offered. Not to mentioned that Appelneventually signed for almost 3 million more.

        2. Coop

          Appel turned down 3.8 M last year.

    2. ssckelley

      If I was Appel I would be thrilled with Boras right now and I could care less what Bryant signs for. Appel ended up doubling his signing bonus by going back to school and he now has a degree from Stanford. On top of all that he might get to go back to his home state to play for the Astros.

  21. Dustin S

    I can’t imagine Bryant won’t sign, he’d have very little to gain in terms of more money and far more to possibly lose if his Sr year wasn’t as strong or he gets hurt. I also can’t think he’d rather go to the .350 Marlins. So I think it’s more posturing and they’ll settle on numbers. I do recall Boras poking the Cubs in the eye a little last offseason for not spending more money in free agency, so they weren’t on best of terms already.

    There was an interesting 60 minutes interview with Boras earlier this year that gave a lot of insight into his daily life. He seems like an overboard workaholic, on at least 1 cell phone from the bathroom when he wakes up until he goes to bed. His 21 year-old daughter Natalie Boras is also quite worthy of a series she-view segment.

  22. Jono

    Why would the cubs get two top picks next year? Does that mean two first round picks, or a first rounder and a comp pick?

    1. Jono

      I see Luke answered my second question. I just don’t understand why that happens

      1. Edwin

        If a team doesn’t sign their first round pick, they get a comp pick the following year one slot later. So for the Cubs, if they fail to sign the #2 pick this year, they get a pick directly after the #2 pick next year. Basically the #3 pick.

        That’s why the Pirates had the #9 pick in the current draft, because they drafted Appel last year at #8 and he didn’t sign.

        1. Jono


  23. Jon

    Kid sounds a bit greedy

  24. Lou Brown

    Blah, blah, blah. The Cubs are probably low-balling, so Boras is using his mouthpiece Heyman to try to get some pressure on the FO. Overslot? Dream the f*@# on. Go back to school and lose 2-4 million kid. Yeah, that’s what he will do. It will cost him millions, and we will lose Clifton, but end up with the 3rd and probably 5th picks next year. Not ideal, but not horrible either.

  25. SenorGato

    I’m not even remotely worried he wont sign. I love the negotiation process that I know nothing about.

    I really want the word leverage burned into the ground.

  26. SenorGato

    Also love that top picks dont just bend over for the new CBA, as it asks of them. Even with cries of lacking leverage following every step they take…

    1. Lou Brown

      Let’s see if we can simplify this for the cat. If he thinks he can make more next year than the Cubs are offering this year, than not signing is a legitimate threat. If not, it is all a load of bluster. The only way he can make more, is by being the first overall pick. Possible, but pretty high-risk. Not that complex really/

      1. SenorGato

        Yeah Loouuuu, I know the situation. Its extremely simple, though somehow easy to mess up. Most of you seem to forget that this was a baseball draft to recruit baseball talent and that baseball talent, not a few 100K, is the issue for the Cubs and provides all the leverage Bryant needs. That he is a junior who can go back and still be a 1:1 guy is ALSO in his favor as a piece of leveragez.

        1. SenorGato

          *Cubs. That provides Bryant with a significant amount of leveragezz. The Cubs are looking to get better at baseball. They will more than make up for Bryant’s ans Boras’ legendary greed when they start putting high end talent on the field.

          1. Lou Brown

            The major league club’s lack of talent doesn’t have a thing to do with it. It would be years before Bryant would see Wrigley, if he ever did. The Cubs could be the best team, or the worst team and it would not matter. Slot is slot, and that is what the negotiations are around. The thought that “we suck, so we had better sign Bryant, he will save the franchise” has not crossed the mind of anyone involved. If he doesn’t sign, Cubs get a comparable pick next year.

            1. SenorGato

              The franchise’s lack of talent has everything to do with it. Bryant not only has a better shot at seeing the majors than almost everyone else in the draft, he has a chance to do it more soon than anyone else in the draft as a top tier college talent.

              The Cubs are one of the worst teams, and that does matter. They need high end talent, Bryant is that, they lost 100+ games to get there, and they’re not going to lose that to do it again next year.

              The thought “we suck so we had been sign Bryant, he will save the franchise”: is not a thought ayone would have because it is a dumb one. The thought should be “man, we suck balls right now and just landed the top power bat in the draft, it would be a good idea to not lose it over what we imagine is in the 2014 draft.”

              If he doesn’t sign the Cubs are forced to make a sign ability pick next year.

              1. Lou Brown

                First 5 picks are 30% to be a better than average major leaguer. 48% if you expand that to average, or in other words: 52% to be less than average. He will spend at least a couple of years in the minors, before making any contribution to the club. He will have a 3 in 10 chance of making any impact to the talent level of the major league club. There is zero reason to give him anything over market value, which based on the other signings is around 5.8 million.

              2. Lou Brown

                You get sold a lot of undercoating and extended service plans, don’t you?

                1. DarthHater

                  My car has never rusted out from under me yet and I sleep like a baby knowing that, if my refrigerator breaks, I already paid to have it serviced (if I can just find the damn contract!)

              3. Lou Brown

                And they get the pool money to go along with the pick, so there is nothing forcing them into a “signability” pick next year.

        2. hansman1982

          In order for him to go 1.1 next year, he will have to do at least as good as he did this year. Otherwise, he risks falling a couple spots in the draft which MORE than makes up for the gain that could be had next year.

          Upside – $1M
          Downside – $3M+ (God forbid he get’s an injury and falls deep in the first round)

          1. SenorGato

            In order to go 1:1 next year he will have to be better than the other guys competing for 1:1 next year.

  27. Die hard

    They have Theo by the short hairs given released Stewart

    1. Luke

      No they don’t.

      1. BT

        I’ve got to side with Die Hard here. The team is only 16 games out, fighting for first, they just released their 3rd string AAA third baseman who was signed to a one year deal, and the guy they hope to play 3rd base in 2 or 3 years is holding out. Theo and Jed are screwed.

        It makes perfect Die Hardian sense.

        1. Cyranojoe


        2. Luke

          Except third base is one of the deepest position in the minors. There are no shortage of potential replacements 2 or 3 years out lurking in the system right now.

          And there was no guarantee Bryant could stick at third anyway.

          1. BT

            yeah, but other than that….

          2. Lou Brown

            And Bryant would start at Wrigley immediately, right? :-)

          3. Die hard

            Best and only viable 3B in org is Castro … His hitting woes are hardly a leverage wedge… At most only a wedgie

            1. SenorGato

              This is not true.

    2. DarthHater

      Since Stewart was not going to play 3B for the Cubs in the future anyway, this statement is even more utterly devoid of sense than your usual vacuous twaddle.

      1. wvcubsfan

        “It makes perfect Die Hardian sense.”

        or this

        “this statement is even more utterly devoid of sense than your usual vacuous twaddle.”

        Trying to figure out which laugh was louder here in the quietness of the office.

  28. FastBall

    I believe Appel wasn’t as concerned about the $$ is because he will be pitching at the MLB level probably next year or even late this season. He will get MLB payroll money right away as compared to a player who might spend a year in the Minors getting paid far less. His clock will start sooner and his arbitration money will come much quicker. If I was an agent I would negotiate some kind of clause that if my player wasn’t on the 25 man roster within X amount of time he would get large $$ bonuses for being held back. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. If Boras was smart he would get the Cubs to do the same. They have to put Bryant on the 25 man roster by mid season 2014 or they pay him handsomely if they don’t.

    1. cubzfan

      Those kind of clauses are specifically ruled out in the new CBA. You cannot promise to bring a player to the majors by any specific point.

  29. FastBall

    Or just pay the penalty money up to the point of not losing a pick next year. I am sure Boras could care less if Theo has to pay he penalty/tax for overspending. That would be a given in my negotiation strategy. Boras doesn’t work for the Cubs. It’s all business so I have no problem with Bryant in any of this. I would do the exact same thing. There isn’t any love after the money is gone so take as much as you can.

    1. SenorGato

      Its almost a given the Cubs would go up to 5% over and paythe tax anyway. They did it last year and there’s less reason to otherwise this year.

  30. another JP

    This is another negotiating story, like 90% of all the prospect and trade news we’ll hear over the next five weeks. All parties have too much to lose by not getting a deal done.

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