Loopholing an Explanation for the Cubs’ International Spending Approach

wallet cashFor the past couple of days, nerdy folks like me have been taking to our calculators to obsess over the Chicago Cubs’ reported 2013-14 international free agent signings.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a math class, but I know how to use the plus button, and I couldn’t quite square what the Cubs were doing. With a number of top tier talents reportedly signed by – or “agreed to terms with” – the Cubs this week, the organization was set to blow far past its allotted international signing pool.

As I wrote last night:

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.

The logical conclusion, then, was that some of these players weren’t yet “signed,” and the Cubs would be sure to acquire more pool space before officially signing these guys so that they didn’t blow the budget and become subjected to such a severe spending restriction next year. After all, we know two things to be unequivocally true about this front office: (1) they aren’t stupid, and (2) they aren’t going to sit out an opportunity to accumulate young talent.

But then rumors started circulating this morning that the Cubs were planning to go after even more expensive international talent this year (those rumors came from Phil Rogers, who deserves credit for getting this line of thinking started). Indeed, that rumor had the Cubs going after so much more international talent that, even if they added the 50% extra pool space that is permitted under the rules, they would *still* blow well past their budget, and would be subject to a 100% tax on the overage and the restricted ability to sign any individual player for more than $250,000.

Why would the Cubs do that to themselves? They’re going to have a huge pool again next year thanks to the poor big league performance, and the best international players get bonuses in excess of $250,000. In effect, the Cubs will have to sit out on all of the big names next year if they blow their budget this year. There’s no way they’d willingly do that, right?

Actually, yeah. They might. And it’s potentially genius.

Let’s imagine that the Cubs really liked this year’s international crop. Given how quickly, aggressively, and expansively they’ve gone after players, I’d say that’s a safe bet. Imagine further that the Cubs aren’t quite as enamored by next year’s crop – that’s not a requirement for this theory, but it certainly helps.

Against that backdrop, the Cubs decide to go hog wild spending this year. Yes, it will mean a huge overage tax and the inability to buy the big boys next year, but the Cubs love this year’s group, so it’s worth it in their eyes. Essentially, then, there are no spending restrictions for the Cubs this year – even if every other team is feeling the pinch of those restrictions. That creates inefficiency. That creates opportunity.

Going nuts this year costs the Cubs only one thing. And it’s the one thing they have that the new guys haven’t yet been able to leverage: money.

Back in the pre-new-CBA days, Theo Epstein’s regime was notorious for spending heavily on the amateur side. But, by the time he came to the Cubs, the ability to do that in the Draft was swiftly foreclosed. In the international market, restrictions also went into place, but under the approach the Cubs may now taking, those restrictions could work to their advantage.

Well, what about the signing restrictions for next year, you ask. Now the Cubs can’t sign any big names, and they’ve got this huge pool of money that they can’t really use effectively (yeah, they can spread it around to a bunch of $250,000 guys, but there are only so many talents at that precise level, and the Cubs aren’t going to get them all – the punishment is supposed to be restrictive, and it is). What a waste, right?

Nope. Here’s the loophole I see (assuming I’m reading the CBA correctly, and I don’t see this as being prohibited): if the Cubs decide they can’t effectively use their entire bonus pool next year because of the $250,000 restriction, they can trade pool space for players or prospects.

Think about what has happened by the end of this approach. The Cubs got to sign anyone and everyone they wanted in the 2013-14 international class. No real restrictions. Then, in 2014-15, they can sign their normal fill of low bonus, diamond-in-the-rough types, and use their big pool money to, essentially, buy players or prospects. By signing enough big-timers this year, the Cubs can more than overcome whatever they might lose in prospects next year. And then they can further make up for that loss by trading pool space.

All they’ve lost in this process is the one thing they’re happy to throw around: extra money.

In this way, the Cubs are converting the cash they’d like to be able to spend on the amateur side – but can’t, because of various restrictions – into a huge number of international prospects this year, and then (hopefully) some players or prospects next year. The key is that, even if you get penalized this year, your bonus pool next year does not go away. The pool remains an asset that you can use in trades next year.

This approach is exquisite, and brilliant, and perfectly aligned with what this front office is about.

(If you want to get very detailed about all of this, you’ll note that, because of the no-international-draft-poison-pill the MLBPA and MLB planted earlier this year, if you were going to blow your budget, this was the year to do it. If you do it next year, the penalties become much more harsh. These guys are just so freaking smart.)

Ok. Now that you understand the loophole, you’re all wondering one thing: if the Cubs were planning to blow past the budget anyway, what’s up with the trades they’ve made?

I think I can explain them all.

The Ronald Torreyes for $800,000 of pool space: If the Cubs were going to blow the budget, why ship off a promising youngster for pool money the Cubs weren’t going to use anyway? Well, it’s probably pretty simple. If the Cubs blow past the budget, then every dollar of pool space they acquire is a dollar they don’t have to spend in tax. In that way, if the Cubs do use the approach I described above, they just sold Torreyes for $800,000 in actual cash. We can debate whether he was worth more, but he’s a small, flawed prospect at a position in the Cubs’ organization (second base) that’s likely to become very crowded. His future was, at best, unclear, and if the Cubs didn’t believe his extreme hit tool would overcome all of the other issues, they were probably happy to sell him for some cash. (The added pool space also provided them cover if they couldn’t get all of the international prospects they wanted to sign. In that event, they could stay under their cap, and not blow the budget for guys they didn’t really want in the first place.)

Acquiring pool space in the Scott Feldman/Steve Clevenger deal: Given my feelings on the value of pool space, the approximately $400,000 in pool space that the Cubs picked up from the Orioles in the Feldman/Clevenger trade never struck me as all that valuable. Folks on all corners of the ‘net tried to convince you that the $400K – not even a 10% bump in the Cubs’ pool – was the entire thrust of the deal. No way. The Cubs, I suspect, actually really liked Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, and were willing to take a shot on them rather than the maybe-far-less-than-we-all-expected prospect packages they were offered. So, what was the pool space about? Well, I mean, the Cubs wanted it. It’s not like it’s worthless. Given the Torreyes description there, it was probably worth about $400,000 in real money to the Cubs. That’s a lot of dough, when you think about it. But in a big baseball trade, it’s a throw-in. That’s probably all this was. (With the caveat, once again, that more pool space gives the Cubs some cover if their SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS plan didn’t work out when it was time to put pen to paper.)

Sending $210,000 in pool space to the Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol trade: This makes a whole lot more sense now, doesn’t it? The pool space was only worth $210,000 of real cash to the Cubs, since they were going to blow the budget anyway. And since the Cubs saved $500,000 in the deal, they netted $290,000 in actual savings (assuming Marmol isn’t ultimately dropped, and then signs with another team, in which case it has been reported that the Cubs owe the Dodgers some more cash). Pretty simply explanation, and pretty logical, too.

So, there you have it. We’ll see if the Cubs’ approach actually bears this all out, but I now wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them nabbing some bigger names. In fact, it’s what I really hope to see now. I’m not in the front office, and I don’t know everything they know, but on paper here, this strategy looks pretty damn good.

Here’s hoping it happens, and that it works.

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

170 responses to “Loopholing an Explanation for the Cubs’ International Spending Approach”

  1. Lou Brock

    I think we need to get two pitchers ready to take Feldman’s and Garza’s spots soon. There will be auditions for those on the 40 man roster so Rusin, Cabrera, Raley, and maybe Arrieta’s all get a look.

    1. mudge

      Villanueva and Baker.

      1. Crockett

        Baker won’t be back until mid-to-late August.

        1. mudge

          Would be great if Arrieta works out, Villanueva’s valuable in the pen.

          1. Bric

            Trade Shark for Porcello and Castellanos. Trade Garza and whomever (Vitters, Lake, Szcurr, it really doesn’t matter) for Kevin Gausman. Start over next year with Wood, Gausman, Porcello, Jackson (whose untradeable right now), and whoever gets the last spot (Johnson?).

            Anyway, the point is if you’re gonna gut the team then do it. No one stays with less than 2 years of control. This year’s a wash and it’s already looking like next year will be ,too. So we may as well start planning for 2 years down the road. It looks like Thedstein is already doing that.

            1. Tim

              The cubs should get a whole lot more than that for shark. And there’s no way the orioles do that trade.

              1. Bric

                Unfortunately that’s what we said about Lillly. And Dempster. And even some crazies who said that about Z. Veterans that are turning 28 or older just do get the same as 24′s with the same talent. And as far as Gausman goes, the orioles are in a win now mode and he hasn’t shown much more than Cashner did at the same trade time. But again, the point is if you’re going to look 2+ years down the road then you’d better be trading talent for younger talent. Gaurier and Arieta (just as Viscaino was last year) aren’t doing anything to move the team forward in the long term.

                1. Drew7

                  “Unfortunately that’s what we said about Lillly. And Dempster.”

                  Well, Shark is considered a veteran, but that’s where the similarities stop.

  2. scorecardpaul

    I know the real draft is alot different than this, but I was hoping to see this type of game there. A team would loose the first pick next year, but while the rest of the teams were signing college seniors to ensure signability we would have been signing the best high school players available. I think the slot system would make it easier to sign the hard to sign younger players. Just offer them all low first round money??

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Difference is in a draft you lose your spot in the draft the following year and beyond the 2nd pick in the draft we couldn’t have 100% got who we wanted. Not every player is 1st round talent. Especially this year. Now when you sign say 5 of the top 10 talent (not saying we did just an example) you essentially only lose out on a couple of slots, and only one that reaches the value you spent. IMO, the international way is so much better and efficient. Smart job by the FO even if 1 or 2 work out.

    2. Cyranojoe

      They’ll do that next year, or more likely the following year. This coming draft, they’re going to get a high pick — why blow that?

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Exactly. When you lose draft slots, you lose a lot. You can make up something in the international market by signing a ton of players if this is the plan. Instead of the value of 1 1st rounder in the FO eyes, they got something that seems to be in the 3 – 1st rd range (with 2 top 5 picks) and a few 2nd rounders if these kids were slotted in a draft. I think there is obviously more risk with these kids, but you have to add talent when you can.

  3. wvcubsfan

    If this is indeed the strategy of the front office it really (in my opinion) goes to show that there really is a long term plan in place.

    I know none of us really like to watch the team lose more than they win, and the reduction in ML payroll really kind of sucked. However, this may very well be the pay off in the crazy increase in the scouting department and the initial payoff of the new DR facility. Both of which cost money which may have been the difference in signing someone like DeJesus rather than Pujols.

    Short term there’s no question which would have made the bigger splash, but long term the way they went may very well turn out to be the right course.

    I also like the idea of going for it this year if they feel like there are players available this year that are worth it. I understand that they are all risks, but if they feel that this years risk have a better chance of making it than next years then may as well go all in.

  4. nkniacc13

    maybe they know that there will be an international draft and they are doing this before the new rules come on the international front

    1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      There will be one at some point. Just not in 2014. Everyone is on board with it for the most part. To me this is one of the last times we have this opportunity. I personally wonder if they were worried if the draft was next year they would lose out on an Amateur 1st rounder by the way they are going over and that is why they are doing it this year instead of next if there isn’t much of a difference in talent.

  5. SenorGato

    I have nothing to say on the strategy besides being fine with it, don’t really care one way or another.

    I do hope that if they’re balls in they can land Leonardo Molina. Badler said the Yankees are front runners at some point, but he can not sign until August 1st. RH CF prospect who is built alot like the SS Torres, but with more CF-y attributes (namely very good speed).

  6. college_of_coaches

    Phenomenal piece Brett, this has been a stellar week for BN! I think it was mentioned in an interview this week (either the last podcast or the write-up with Law) that there are two philosophies to signing teenagers out of the international market. 1). Spend big-bucks on a small handful of phenoms, or 2). Signing a a lot of less-touted kids in the hopes of finding a diamond in the rough. If you are correct in your assessment, it would seem that the first philosophy is being exploited this year, with next years approach following the second philosophy.

  7. KTB

    Will the Cubs have any leverage whatsoever when it comes to trading their pool money away next year? The other teams know that they can only spend $250,000 max on a player and that their goal is to trade the slots.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      The Cubs leverage is the same as it is with trading players: if Team A bids X and Team B bids X+Y, then Team B wins.

      1. KTB

        But wont the starting point of Team A be significantly lower? If I’m a GM I’m not offering the Cubs much of anything for the pool money that they can’t spend anyway.

        1. Crockett

          They can spend it. On 250k chunks. Maybe the Cubs are assuming their DR complex will keep paying off and they’ll find 6-15 lotto tickets who attend their camps that other teams don’t see/think as highly of.

          1. Jason Powers

            And since they can put a maximum of 80 total DR prospects at their new Baseball Academy, filling it up quickly, to garner maximum results of development, with this years best prospects, in going for broke this year, is a quicker way to see what pans out say, five years, from now, once they feed to the MLB minors system.

            Thereafter, they are feeding it next year with good lotto prospects, or trading off their pool to get back a minor league, or MLB washout (like they did to amass money).

            In essence, they are creating a multi-tier farm system in D.R. With 2-3 levels of talent for the 3 fields they built there. Players will go through a rung process: with a feeder system of the Cubs choosing, I suppose.

            I wonder who is directly in charge of the DR system?

        2. KTB

          I still don’t see the Cubs getting any impact talent from trading away their slot money next year. This is far from a “genius” strategy.

          1. nkniacc13

            with the penalties that are harsher next year than this year they may not get “impact” talent but they may get good talent. If they get a bunch of “impact” talent this year then they are already in the system and they think next years class isn’t that strong why not load it up this year take the penalties that aren’t harsh and next year with the few “impact” guys that maybe available teams may need to come to cubs for more $ to sign them so they don’t take the harsh new penalties

  8. Die hard

    If the strategy was to take advantage of an unintended loophole then Bud is going to be furious with the Cubs… Wouldn’t want to be on the opposite end of his wrath… If so this brilliant strategy will cost Cubs 10 times what they think they gained

    1. Crockett

      Can’t Brett block your insanity?

    2. Carew

      pretty sure all loopholes are unintended. But he would be at least a little impressed about how smart the move was.

    3. Cubswin

      Bud can be furious but won’t be able to do anything this year… and whatever extra penalties he puts next year won’t matter with the strategy brett is talking about. Definitely won’t cost them 10 times what they think they gained either.. even with the 100% tax. FO hoping these guys can be top prospects in our system in a couple of years when were starting to hopefully get better and more towards the top of the central.

      1. OCCubFan

        Even better, lots of extra penalties next year makes slot money more valuable. This benefits those–like the Cubs—with slot money to trade away.

    4. Cyranojoe

      The league would greatly benefit from a competitive Cubs team. Doubt we see any sort of punishment.

    5. LWeb23

      I’m not so sure he would be too furious about it. There is a penalty for doing what the Cubs are doing, and they know that and are willing to suffer next year. It’s just the nature of the beast.

    6. nkniacc13

      why this is what TB did last year

  9. fenway frank

    Wait, doesn’t this mean the cubs can sign next years top prospects on July 1?

    1. Kyle

      Signing eligibility each year is determined by birthday. Next year’s top prospect won’t be eligible to sign until July 2.

      1. fenway frank

        Let’s say a prospect turn 16 next April. Can’t the cubs sign him in may. Before everyone else gets a chance on July 2?

        1. Kyle

          In order to sign any professional contract with MLB, you have to be 16.

          In order to be eligible in a given “signing period,” you have to be on track to be 17 by the end of your first professional season, usually Sept. 1 of the following year.

          So in order to be eligible to sign for the signing period that began this week, you’d have to be on track to be 17 by Sept. 1, 2014. Otherwise you aren’t eligible until the 2014 signing period, beginning July 2, 2014.

          1. Rich H

            I remember that this is how Adrian Beltre became a FA the first time. He lied about his age and was only 15 when he signed with the Dodger’s and later his agent (BORAS) tried to get that contract thrown out because he was actually only 18 instead of 19 when he was promoted (or something like that).They ended up making his service time more because they said that the Dodgers knew he was lying about his age and did not care.

          2. college_of_coaches

            Does this explain why some of the signed players won’t play until next year?

            1. Die hard

              Doesn’t anybody else see that this is so wrong on so many levels? These kids won’t see much of this money… Going to their handlers who own them like slave traders owned slaves

              1. Internet Random

                At least try to make your trolling subtle. Seeing clumsy, brutish attempts like this are just sad, and they make me uncomfortable to read… like seeing a really terrible performance in a middle-school play.

            2. Kyle

              Basically, yes. Most of them won’t, as a matter of fact.

              For the vast majority, the contracts they are signing are “Signed for Future Service” for the 2014 season. They aren’t eligible for the 2013 season.

            3. X the Cubs Fan

              No, the contracts are signed for the 2014 season and beyond.

            4. college_of_coaches

              Thanks Kyle and X! Stay crazy Die Hard, that’s really all I can say.

              1. X the Cubs Fan

                Actually I hate to admit it, but this time Die Hards partially right these guys are losing a chunk of this money because their countries take advantage of their youth and ignorance as far as legal matters go.

            5. cubsin

              The only players who signed this year who can play this year are 17 or older. Paniangua last year and Mejia this year are examples. The 16-year-olds sign for 2014 and play in a development league, which I believe is run by MLB.

  10. DavidC

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read in a while, great insight. Definitely makes sense to do this every other year. Go balls to the wall and absolutely splurge once every two years, and you should be able to group up far more talent than just staying within your budget both years. It makes even more sense to do it when you’re a playoff contender consistently, like the Rangers, because you have such small pools to work with every season.

  11. cubsin

    The Rangers blew well past 155% of their draft pool on the first day of the draft. So far, it’s only the Rangers and possibly the Cubs who are using this approach.

    1. Jason Powers

      Moneyballers w/ money that Oakland does not have.

  12. Serious Cubs Fan

    Seriously questioning Theo and Jed’s strategy here. We are going to have a huge IFA bonus pool next year, why are we throwing that away!?

    1. Eric

      Did you not read the article you just commented on? It sums up the potential logic nicely…..

    2. Bilbo161

      I don’t think they are throwing it away. There are a lot of trades coming and if the Cubs can’t get enough in prospects they may well have teams sweeten the pot with IFA cap space. In any case they must really like the guys they are signing now.

      Open question: If we do get penalized next season can we still trade our slots? So far I have not heard they would be taken away, just that spending would be limited to $250k a pop. Could this be another loophole to piss off the Comish with? I would love to see him with a beet-face.

  13. Bilbo161

    The most significant difference between this FO and the previous is that these guys are actually given the money to go after top talent both in the draft and elsewhere. Folks who criticize this ownership for not spending are not paying much attention. Rickets is the best thing to ever happen to the Cubs.

  14. Rafael R

    What a great write up!!!

  15. Jason Powers

    The FO/Ricketts are into an investment plan approach, now that they made the big splash.

    1) Renovate the stadium (Boston did so when Theo took over there)
    2) Build a state-of-the-art International complex and load it up quickly w/talent, tiered and ready to develop with education and living arrangements that work (Boston did this too)
    3) Swap out all the MLB pieces that will not cut it – as the market develops for a logical trade
    4) Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate the plan and tweak as you go
    5) Exploit those Loopholes, just like TAX lawyers do in feeding the international tax havens more clients (Double Irish Dutch Sandwich)

    The results will be slow at first. Exponential once 3-5 years go by. But the Cubs never did invest enough (spent on FAs not invest) along the path of 100 years of misery.

    I will see a great team by 2020! (Patience – the hardest thing)
    Work the plan.

  16. X the Cubs Fan

    Cubs have signed draft pick Brad Renner:
    Brad Renner ‏@rennbg 1h
    I am officially a member of the Chicago Cubs. One of the greatest days of my life!

    1. Crockett

      Round?

      1. Deacon

        Round 28

        1. Crockett

          Thanks!

  17. Lou Brock

    Bogusevic pulled from game in third inning. Possible part of deal?

    1. Crockett

      I think he tweaked his back on a swing.

  18. wkranz54

    At least this solves one thing loud and clear. The Cubs are willing to spend. I was reading this article and thought of all the people claiming the Cubs were cheap and didn’t care about winning as long as the fans kept buying. This clearly shows (assuming Brett’s article is correct) that this FO wants to spend & more importantly win!

  19. John (ibcnu2222)

    Anybody have a list or just know of some players who were signed at the age of 16, 17 and have made it to the MLB?

    1. Kyle

      It’d be tough to get a full list. The vast majority of international players for quite some time have been signed that way.

      Castro, Castillo, Marmol and Dolis all came to the Cubs that way.

      1. John (ibcnu2222)

        Thanks for the reply. I did find that Sosa, Bernie Williams, Miquel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Pudge Rodriquez were all signed that way.

        1. SenorGato

          Felix Hernandez, probably Carlos Zambrano here…the list could go on and on…

    2. Rebuilding

      Almost every player of any note born outside of the United States (excluding Japan)

  20. Figgelbert

    Brett,
    Or could theo and co. Know that an amatuer draft will be in place next year.
    Would that effectively take away any penalties and create a slotted draft like the MLB amatuer draft.
    Hence they could be gambling that a draft wil be in place next year and this is the last year to go hog wild spending.
    Good stradegy?
    Kinda makes sense?

  21. Die hard

    Wonder what Cubs demanded from AZ in exchange for Garza to scare AZ into Brewers arms for Gallardo?

    1. Internet Random

      A package you would have criticized as grossly insufficient had we actually made such an exchange.

    2. DarthHater

      Because there’s no way that AZ might simply prefer a player who’s not a rental. Nah, that couldn’t be it.

      1. DarthHater

        To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you have eliminated the possible and the rational, whatever remains, however, improbable and absurd, is what Die hard will say.

  22. Eric

    If they are gonna do this, and that’s fine. I want to see them nab as many of the “top 30″ as possible. Maybe a few more pitchers, a catcher, 3B, really get top talent all around the diamond.

  23. Corey

    Wow, theo really is an Evil genius.

  24. The Dude Abides

    Of course it’s genius.

  25. Jared

    Am I the only one who thinks that this theory is based on the cubs “possibly” contending next year?!?! You would think a team that will have the IFA money’s available to trade, “next year”, will be trading for pieces to help them in the playoff hunt??? Maybe the FO see’s contention next year a little more clearly than I do? I don’t mind what they did, but I don’t see a “selling team” packaging a bunch of available IFA money in a deal with a proven vet just to garner a couple of mid range prospects…? Then again, I am usually wrong…

  26. Jason ( Thundermug)

    Well we only have about 8 days for Kris Bryant to sign w/ Cubs If I had to take a guess I bet the deal will be finalized by July 10th. IMO However with every hour passes I’m sure the suspense will increase a little and the fear will raise faster than Gas Prices at the beginning of a new year

    1. SenorGato

      Gotta love manufactured fear and stress…There’s only the tiniest sliver of a chance he is not signed.

  27. Cheryl

    I’m beginning to think that it really doesn’t matter if he doesn’t sign. Boras may think he holds all the cards but at this rate the cubs might do better in next year’s draft. There’s a chance that we’d have two choices in the first five draft slots which could put the cubs in a better position than with just the one signing by Bryant.

    1. SenorGato

      Then suddenly you are negotiating with a Bryant and an Appel in the same draft…The world will cry “no leveragez.”

  28. Jason ( Thundermug)

    I’m not worried because Boras/Bryant would be foolish to not sign if the Cubs are close on the slotted price for the 2 pick. It’s one thing to take a chance being picked 8th and gamble to see if you can get picked 1 or 2 in next years class but when you are drafted 2 there isn’t that much room to improve your position from 2 to 1 and chances are you might even drop and lose alot of $$$ in the process

    1. SenorGato

      On the other side, the Cubs would be foolish to not sign Bryant and probably forcing themselves into making a signability pick at the top of the first next year.

  29. Mike F

    Boras is not an idiot. In order to get Bryant like Appel a 1 pick as a senior he won’t get above slot. Second, his competition at the top next season is much better further devaluing any perceived leverage. Finally, max leverage to get his best deal probably slightly higher than Appel, making him the defacto 1, get started which if he’s that good is an advantage of its own, and not take risk for almost no return. And that’s no small thing. Unless he just doesn’t like the Cub organization, he an Boras have nothing to gain by not signing and everything to lose. They are squeezing every dime, and sooner or later will sign. And frankly if he doesn’t given how late the pick came, something was going on as to Bryant and Gray. I think he signs sooner than the 12th.

    1. baldtaxguy

      The timing of Bryant’s signing has always been contingent simply upon all the other CUBES’ picks committing to, or actually signing, or not, thus determining the remaining bonus dollars up to or comfortably within the penalty provisions and handing that amount over to Bryant.

  30. Rebuilding

    Was there anything more to Rogers info than that tweet? Sorry, but anything Phil Rogers comes up with I take with a grain of salt. I’m not buying this at all despite the thoughtful write up, Brett.

    First of all, by my back of the napkin calculations we could trade for about another $2 million in space allowing us to sign Jimenez and still have another $1 million left over w/o incurring any penalties. So that could sign some “big fish”.

    Second, I don’t think the FO will box themselves in for next year. We will have close to the highest pool and given other teams spending habits prob spend the most. What if between now and then some kid develops amazingly and our scouts think he’ll be the next Miguel Cabrera. But now we can’t spend over $250k. I just don’t think the FO would reduce their flexibility like that.

    I think we’ll see trade(s) for more cap space soon and we will sign guys right to the very limit with no penalties

    1. Carew

      The brilliance behind this is next year the cubs could trade the oh-so valuable pool money for players already in the majors, or close to it. At least thats what I’m reading

      1. Rebuilding

        As far as im aware the only such deal this year is for Ronald Torreyes. and if thats all $800,000 in cap space will get you i say no thanks. Could we use it as a kick in…sure. But it doesn’t look like that space is all that valuable to be honest. And frankly if there is someone in next years class good enough to be trading space for (ie Jimenez) I would rather we have the flexibility to sign him. I really wouldn’t classify what the Astros did this year as “brilliant”

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