dominican flagWell how about that.

Not 20 minutes after writing up the Chicago Cubs’ latest international signing, they’ve gone and topped them all by agreeing to terms with 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the top prospect on the international market, according to Baseball America and The signing was reported by Jesse Sanchez, who late last night reported that Jimenez had decided to sign with the Cubs.

Jimenez is receiving a $2.8 million signing bonus plus $250,000 in college tuition, according to Sanchez. I don’t believe the latter portion is subject to the international spending pool, but, even if it isn’t, the Cubs appear to now be in the red, even if you consider the pool money they added yesterday, as well as the 5% overage they’re permitted before being exposed to serious penalties. As I explained earlier:

After signing Torres, Moreno, and Mejia for $3.35 million, and after netting $963,000 extra to their $4,557,200 bonus pool yesterday via trades, the Cubs had about $2,446,210 left to spend, after considering the 5% they can go over without incurring dramatic penalties. With Matos getting $270,000, the Cubs are down to approximately $2,176,210, give or take a few bucks.

Thus, ostensibly, the Jimenez signing would put the Cubs way over their limit. In fact, they’d be so over the limit (more than 15%, by my quick calculation) that they’d be exposed to the most severe penalty: a 100% tax on the overage and (worse) the inability to sign any prospects for more than $250,000 for the next signing period.

I’m not sure that is what’s going to happen when this all shakes out, though. Or at least I hope.

My understanding is that a team cannot trade for bonus pool money if it is already in the red. That said, because the Cubs added pool money just yesterday, fully knowing that this Jimenez deal was going to happen, I’ve got to assume that they have their ducks in row. In other words, if the Cubs knew they were going to blow the budget by 15% anyway, and would be unable to make any more trades for pool space, why add any pool money at all yesterday?

How they work this remains to be seen. I’m assuming some of the “signings” aren’t official yet, including maybe this one. Presumably, then, the Cubs will add more pool space at some point before finalizing one or all of these contracts. I suppose that means teams know the Cubs are now very, very in the market for bonus pool money, but hopefully the Cubs have already prepared for that perceived weak negotiating position. Perhaps they already have a deal in place for a certain amount of bonus money (which was an amount that made the $210,000 they traded away with Carlos Marmol superfluous). Sure would explain a lot.

Once the dust settles, I’ll have more on the prospects, themselves – especially Jimenez.

UPDATE: Doing some quick math and speculation that could totally be wrong, if the Cubs need to add about $650,000 in pool money to sign Jimenez and everyone else without going more than 5% over their pool, they’ll need to acquire one of the top 17 slots (the White Sox are at $666,100). Lots of potential trade partners up there, but the slots also rapidly get huge. Since you can only increase your bonus pool by a maximum of 50% (so, an addition of about $2.25 million for the Cubs, who’ve added $936,000 so far), I’m a little concerned that the Cubs are going to now have to trade for a slot that is much larger than they can actually use (and the other team is going to want the Cubs to pay commensurately). If the Cubs want to increase their pool to the maximum they can, without “wasting” too much money for which they’ve traded, we’re looking at the Blue Jays ($1.222 million), the Royals ($1.381 million), the Red Sox ($1.565 million), or the Marlins ($1.763 million) in that range. Some of those teams have probably already used up their money, but you get the idea. Maybe the Cubs have already worked out a prospect for pool money swap with the Marlins?

UPDATE to the UPDATE: As Alex points out in the comments, the Cubs could also add a combination of lower slots to make up the money – le duh. Sorry for the haste. The rest of the update is still a little interesting to think about, I suppose. But, yeah, the Cubs could have deals in place to add lots of smaller slots, not just one big slot.

OBLIGATORY DRAMA UPDATE: Jimenez’s agent is apparently denying that a deal is done, but that’s actually consistent with everything we know so far. I doubt a deal is finalized, and that could be all the denial is about. I’m not concerned at this point.

  • Ben (BG2383)

    Wow! This makes me incredibly nervous. Thanks for the speedy write-up

  • Bijan Rademacher

    I like this. And I like you

  • Austin

    So anyone think they went cheap with the Marmol deal now? Now they have to pay 100% on 15% overage and that will easily trump the 500k they saved from Marmol. But in guessing someone will still complain about it anyway.

    • Austin

      Well of course unless Brett is right on something else coming before they are official but the point still stays. Cubs are not cheap like so many have complained after yesterday. Or else they wouldn’t be spending 2.8 million on Jimenez and all the rest on the other guys.

    • cubmig

      Not me. I can’t believe the FO hadn’t covered all the scenarios and their way out of any that cornered them financially. Unless the words were: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

      • DarthHater

        Too much blind optimism around here right now. Where’s Die hard when we need him? 😛

    • X the Cubs fan

      if they cared at all about going over they wouldnt have gone over.

    • Jono

      I bet they acquire more slot money before they sign this contract

  • fromthemitten

    Maybe they’re trying to SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS and take next year off…

    • DarthHater


      • DarthHater



  • TWC

    Man, it’s bizarro world on the Cubs transaction wire these last couple of days.

    • DarthHater

      I usually save this for Die hard, but:


  • DarthHater

    So, if they completely blow the cap, that means they just gave away Torreyes for nothing at all, doesn’t it?

    • fromthemitten

      I bet they’ll trade others (Jackson? Vitters? fringe AAA starters?) for international pool space in the near future

      • DarthHater

        I thought Brett said once you are in the red, you can no longer trade for additional space.

        • cjdubbya

          He did, but if Jimenez hasn’t put pen to paper, it’s not officially official. They’re still in the black until he signs.

          • DarthHater

            Good point. I was thinking “signed,” rather than “agreed to terms.”

        • Jason Powers

          Could depend on when that is official – paperwork and rules that lawyers like Theo know expertly the ends and outs of. (and hire more lawyers to do all the work.)

  • Jason Powers

    Great turn around, Brett. Apologies too for cracking on you awhile back about an article surrounding financials outside the players…. While we can critique, you have been Johnny-on-the-spot with latest. Almost like you work for Theo, Jed, Jason…et. al.

    Wonder when the INK officially dries on things? If this far over, they must know something about the next crop, or figure they got the best of all those deals, even under the risks that are there.

  • Rudy

    ABTY over at PSD is also reporting this with repect to Jimenez and more: “Deal is done, Cubs attempting to make one additional Slot cash deal- likely with Twins for slot three money… Hearing the organization is making a late push for a couple other 750K-1.2M signees that have waviered from original commitments… ”

    Sounds like the Cubs are going hog wild! I wonder what fringe prospects they are looking to trade to acquire this. There were rumors about Lake earlier in th week but here’s hoping that it’s some fringier guys… Jackson or Vitters maybe?

  • cubchymyst

    Well if your going to go over, might as well do it the right way. Keep signing players.

  • North Side Irish

    No chance this FO gives up the chance to sign big dollar players next year when they should have one of the biggest pools again. Definitely another move coming for more pool money…

    • Cyranojoe

      Agreed. Can’t imagine them burning next year for this year. Not yet, anyway.

  • Spoda17

    I love this front office…

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    i don’t think it is nearly that complicated. When the smoke clears 2-4 more players will be gone, likely in less than 24 hours. Won’t be shocked if they already have a trade in place for Garza.

  • ssckelley

    I asked this before but did not get a response so I will post this again.

    If the Cubs do not sign any players for 50k does that get added to the pool money. The Cubs can sign 6 players for 50k and not have it count against their pool, does this work like the draft where after the 10th round only the amount over 100k counts against the pool? If this is the case then only 220k counts against the pool for signing Matos. That could potentially add an extra 250k to the pool money if this is the case (5 players signed for over 50k).

    • nkniacc13

      I don’t think they can move that $ like that

    • Brett

      No – separate rules. Good thinking, though.

      • ssckelley

        Ok, thanks for replying. Thought maybe the FO found a loophole.

  • Dynastyin2019

    I can’t imagine the FO limiting themselves next year. They will have the highest ‘usable’ IFA pool amount next year, so that would guarantee them the best guys next year as well. They have, as Die hard would say, a handshake deal with someone.

  • nkniacc13

    Could the fact that Jefferson M. being able to play right now allow the cubs to count some of that to last years pool? I doubt it but because he can start now and the others have 14′ contracts it makes me wonder whats up with that

    • DarthHater


  • Alex

    The Cubs don’t need a top 17 slot, they just need a combination of slots that add up to the 660

    • Brett

      Very good point. I’ll amend.

      • Scotti

        It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to get the whole deal in one swoop. Going the multiple route, each trade would have an actual, though lesser, prospect attached to it. And those bodies each would have to have SOME value or else the other team just doesn’t play ball (UNLESS you have a handshake deal to scratch someone else’s back later on–i.e. send literal non-prospects for unused cap space and promise to return the favor down the road). Don’t think the league would think too highly of back scratching this early in the process.

        • Rebuilding

          We just did one of these deals for Torreyes. If they aren’t able to land enough in a bigger deal then they will just do the same for lesser prospects and less slot. I don’t understand all of the handwringing. The Marlins are going to have a ton of space left over that they will just lose. Why wouldn’t they take anyone that has a .0001% chance of being decent over just losing it

          • Scotti

            A ) there isn’t hand wringing. B ) someone else can offer them a prospect with a .0002% chance for the same slot. You won’t get anything for free here.

  • Rockin’ Dawg

    My guess is they have a deal in place with the Marlins already.

  • Scotti

    This kid’s agent clearly sees collegiate inflation continuing. That or he’s Harvard/Yale/MIT material.

    • Jason Powers

      If in 6 years, he’s done, well, off to crack the books! By then, he’ll only be able to afford the Big Ten.

    • Patrick W.

      The kid might not use it for 20+ years. Remember the Shawon Dunston deal?

      • Scotti

        Sure do. 31 years and counting.

  • Mush

    I wonder if FO or players ever read these blogs and laugh at us idiots.

    • Brett

      Strong bet is yes and yes.

    • Dynastyin2019


    • DarthHater

      Well, we know Garza is an admirer of Brett.

      • TonyP


    • Rich H

      I will serious freak out if we find out that DieHard is actually Theo or Jed and he is just trying to rile us up.

    • TonyP

      Assman is part of the FO I think.

      • Rebuilding

        I doubt it. Posting deals before they happen on message boards is a good way to lose your job. I have no doubt that he and ABTY know someone, but I doubt it’s anyone high up and that person is taking a chance (unless the FO uses as a conduit for leaks that work to our advantage)

  • Josh t

    I’m not going to lie I’d be pretty ticked if they go over slot bonus pool and then it would seriously hurt us next. I have confidence in Jed/Theo that they knew the situation and would jepordize the team for next year as they look to have another huge IFA bonus pool bc were so bad this season

  • Fenway Frank

    Cubs could trade a small slot and a player for a big slot, thus netting a medium amount.

  • Josh t

    I feel that teams know the cubs are desperate for bonus pool slots so they will take advantage of us in trades. I’m not a huge fan of trading our trade chips for IFA bonus slots, instead of getting more established minor league prospects. Specifically I don’t want to see Garza trade for IFA slot money (I doubt he will), if Kevin Gregg or another more minor trade chip is traded for IFA slot I wouldn’t mind. I just really don’t want us to get taken advantage of in trades bc teams know we’re desperate for slots. But Theo/Jed I trust know what their doing

    • ozzzie19

      If Gleybar and Eloy were handshake agreements months ago, then its unlikely that the FO would put themselves over a barrel like this.

    • Rebuilding

      I’m not too worried about our bargaining position. There are several teams, most notably the Marlins, who aren’t going to spend anywhere near their allocation. So you go to them and say hey do you want a toolsy, fringy prospect for cap space you aren’t going to spend? No, ok get the next team on the line. This will all be resolved before pen gets put to paper on Jimenez

  • ozzzie19

    Heres an idea…if the Rangers are blowing their allotment, couldn’t they trade away their slots and it would have no impact on them whatsoever because they’ll blow their allotment regardless (or are you not allowed to blow your allotment AND trade your slots)?

    If they can trade their slots, and we know they are in love with Garza, maybe that becomes PART OF the compensation back to the Cubs?

    • JoeyCollins

      Didnt think about the Rangers and Garza deal, but I’m with you on trading away slots and then blowing past the limit. If the Cubs think there will be an international draft in 2015 then I hope we do just that next year. plus I don’t think I like the idea of pool money in a trade for Garza. If he’s our big trade piece then I want to see a couple big name prospects I can get excited about. That’s totally just me being a fan and maybe not the best approach but I’m allowed to want.

  • Dustin S

    I would have loved to have been in the FO the last couple of days just seeing the guys shuffle the pieces around.

    I have to think they probably have another deal lined up already that might even be announced tonight. They won’t let themselves go over. My only concern would be if the deal isn’t already lined up, and the team giving up their pool money knew the Cubs were kind of over a barrel and made them overpay. But considering they got 800k for Torreyes it shouldn’t take too much to get there. I doubt the Marlins will even use theirs.

    • Kramden

      Maybe a deal was in place that included slot money from another team BEFORE the Cubs went over their limit, which would have precluded any other team from taking advantage of the Cubs’ circumstance.

      If so, pretty slick move by Jedd & Theo !

      • Scotti

        The only thing that would preclude another team from taking advantage of the Cubs situation is if that trade has already be consummated. Otherwise the other team can “reconsider,” back out and insist on more going forward. It is possible that a trade has been consummated but not made public (player(s) needing to be notified).

        • Rebuilding

          No, the thing that will preclude another team from taking advantage of us is the other 15-20 teams who won’t be spending all of their IFA money and would rather get something than nothing

          • Scotti

            Thereby taking advantage of the Cubs situation. In either scenario the Cubs give up more than they would have originally given up or else they would have originally dealt with team B, C, etc. instead of team A. Unless. of course, you think the Cubs are trying to give away more than they should…

            • Rebuilding

              No, I just think giving away a guy who is 99.9% likely to never make our roster as a 25th man is no big deal in order to sign the top rated international prospect on the market

              • Scotti

                And, like I said, you won’t get anything for such a guy. That kind of guy is easy to come by for any team. Minor league teams are littered with them. Yesterday 800k cost Ronald Torreyes, a 20-y/o w/ a career minor league .312/.374/.449/.823 slash line for a middle infielder. We now need apx 650k. Teams won’t give that up for guys who are “99.9% likely to never make our roster as a 25th man.”

                If teams WOULD give 650k in cap space for a guy who is “99.9% likely to never make our roster as a 25th man” then the FO got HOSED on the Torreyes deal. I tend to think they didn’t. I tend to think that there is actual value to cap space.

                • Rebuilding

                  Ok, I guess we’ll wait and see how this plays out. Obviously the Torreyes deal had more immediacy to it in order to even contemplate doing what we are doing. And frankly I don’t think Torreyes projects to be much more than 25th man utility player. He hasn’t been particularly impressive this year and is behind at least 4-5 potential 2b in our system. So we have to come up with 2/3rds of a Ronald Torreyes…or 3 1/6ths of him. I’m sure we can manage it. Also, as it becomes apparent to teams they aren’t going to spend all of there money they will give it up for warm bodies

                  • Scotti

                    It isn’t money, it’s cap space. And we are way off on what type of prospect Torreyes is. The kid is a 20-y/o in AA. TWENTY years old. I have age spots older than that. For the month of June he just hit .325/.389/.488/.876. His April line was .341/.451/.439/.890. He had a rough May but perhaps he was playing through an injury (he started last year injured and hit poorly as well).

                    I.e. we have plenty of potential second basemen… It doesn’t matter how many $100 bills you have–each is $100. If we only have one $100 bill that doesn’t make it worth $120 to anyone else. If we have 4-5 that doesn’t make it worth $80 to anyone else. The market is never driven by YOUR needs. The market has its own needs.

                    Yes, we will see how this plays out. It would have played out differently if the Cubs hadn’t moved 200k in cap space to the Dodgers and signed some of the smaller pieces. This isn’t about the big haul of Eloy Jimenez or Gleyber Torres. It’s about going out and getting the other guys for, essentially, Torreyes plus the next shoe to drop. Hopefully that shoe is well worn and not a 20-y/o in AA.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Yes, I guess you and I are way off about Torreyes as a prospect. I don’t think he would appear anywhere in any Top 20 Cubs list. Probably not Top 30. He’s a diminutive guy with no projection to add power. From what I’ve been told he doesn’t field particularly well or have much of an arm. He supposedly has a decent hit tool but hit 260 last year and this year. He does exhibit good plate discipline, however. If we are ever haunted by trading Ronald Torreyes I will be beyond shocked. My guess is that his worth to other clubs is about equal to…$800,000 of cap space they were never going to spend

                    • Drew7

                      “And we are way off on what type of prospect Torreyes is…”


                      I think people get caught looking solely at the numbers with him and forget how, at every level, he’s…

                      A) been *really* young
                      B) has put up very solid numbers

                      The kid knows how to hit.

                    • Rebuilding

                      I’m not getting caught up in numbers. It’s the scouting report – everything I’ve heard is that he can’t field, he can’t throw, he will never hit for power and that as he’s moved up fastballs have started to knock the bat out of his hands. He does appear to have good pitch recognition skills.

                      Right now you’ve got so many guys ahead of him to potentially play 2nd base he’s expendable. What is his worth? I honestly don’t know how far you would have has to go down the Astros prospect list if it were player for player – but pretty far.

                      If the FO has 1% hope that Jimenez turns into another Dominican star then I was worth it

                    • Rebuilding

                      But if you do want to talk numbers – what he did as an 18 yo in A ball 3 years ago is amazing. Yes, he has been young for league since, I’ve been told that his extremely small stature preclude the usual projection for power – he basically is what he is. And what he has been the last 2 years is:

                      264/326/385 and 260/337/381

                      With his skillset he’ll have to hit 300 to even be a bench guy

                    • Scotti

                      For a position player, when it come to tools there is ONE tool that trumps ALL other tools combined–hitting. Great power but can’t hit? Sorry. Great speed but can’t hit? Sorry. Great glove but can’t hit? Sorry. Great arm but can’t hit? Maybe he can pitch.

                      “It’s the scouting report – everything I’ve heard is that he can’t field, he can’t throw, he will never hit for power and that as he’s moved up fastballs have started to knock the bat out of his hands. ”

                      Who are you listening to? Can’t field? The kid’s got exceptional fielding percentages for someone his age and his video looks just fine. Can’t throw? Somehow that hasn’t stopped him from playing a pretty decent 2B. FB’s are knocking “the bat out of his hands?” How did he hit .325 in April and .341 in June if FB’s are knocking “the ball out of his hands?” Maybe Theo was pulling in favors and asking other teams to throw changeups to Torreyes… That’s just silly.

                      Whoever you’re listening to, do yourself a favor and stop. Reclaim your time and take up a hobby. Something constructive like macrame–that deal where people turn rope into owls and hang them on walls.

                      Power… Torreyes is not going to be a power hitter. But power hitters need guys to drive in. And a guy who has 116 extra base hits in 1271 AB isn’t exactly weak. I’ve never heard anyone bothered with Arismendy Alcantara’s size or power. He’s just 20 pounds heavier and, in 200 more career AB, he has all of 2 more career extra base hits (and he’s a year older).

                      Look, bulk (especially in the arms and shoulders) matters. That mass is converted into the bat and produces power. But there is also a lot to be said for wiry strength. Guys like Alcantara and Torreyes have wiry strength. Guys like that can make some really tight macrame.

                      “Yes, he has been young for league since, I’ve been told that his extremely small stature preclude the usual projection for power – he basically is what he is. And what he has been the last 2 years is: 264/326/385 and 260/337/381”

                      Again, reclaim that time. Be your own man. Macrame! Re. “projection/young for league:” Being young for your league and projection are NOT synonymous. A guy can be young for his league, not project to hit for power and yet still be expected to show a lot more statistically (i.e. BA, BB, 2B, etc.). The fact is Houston certainly thinks so or they wouldn’t have tossed aside 800k in cap space.

                      Young for your league is really just about experience. Guys like Szczur, Samardzija (AAA), Hannemann, etc. being “old” for their leagues is/was meaningless because they all have/had the appropriate experience for their league. So when a guy is experientially young for his league it means that you project what adding experience will do for him. There is absolutely no doubt that Torreyes taking another crack at A+ would have given him better numbers across the board. The kid is TWENTY and in AA. Jeez. He isn’t Popeye–there’s more there there.

  • DB

    I would think twice before spending that kind of money. These kids are all raw and haven’t really played competitive baseball.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Ha, people bitch because they don’t overspend enough on at best, past their prime, average players. Yet, they get nervous when they spend a ton of money on kids they are scouting the hell on to try and get a stream of talent a few years from now with upside. 95% of these kids we will never hear from again. But, when you go the international route and sign everyone, you are bound to hit. I love this move. It will be atleast 5 years, but we should have found a quality player somewhere in the last 36 hours.

  • TonyP

    No way the FO is blowing off next year. I bet there is a deal in place for the needed slots but it just have not been announced yet….

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Cubs must have really liked this international class. They must have felt this international class was like the 2011 draft and next years was like the 2013 draft. Add that on the fact they went in scouting with an open mind and really liked a lot of kids with a bunch of money to spend. Then, they realized they were like my wife and decided to double up on what they should have spent only to worry about the penalties after the dust has settled.

  • Luke

    This is somewhat unexpected.

    I tend to agree that there is probably a piece to this puzzle that we’re missing, but I see a lot of pieces that would fit.

    Next few days should be interesting.

  • Luke

    Not something I’ve checked up on, but someone may have.

    Does anyone know the project quality of next year’s IFA class?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Not sure. I wonder however with the inevitable International Draft had anything to do with this. It won’t happen next year for sure. But, if the FO thinks it could happen in 2015 and they felt this class was far better than next year, why not take a final chance at a crap ton high upside international talents? That to me is the only thing that makes sense at this point the way they are going.

    • ssckelley

      I’ve heard Theo quoted that they felt this was a strong international class.

      • Die hard

        What else would he be expected to say?

  • OCCubFan

    Being willing to send 200+K along with Marmol to the Dodgers might make sense if the Cubs had a deal lined up to net them a high slot that otherwise would have resulted in unusable slot money per Brett’s write-up.