To put it as emphatically as one can when there remains theoretical uncertainty about an issue: the Cubs are a virtual lock to sign top draft pick Kris Bryant by Friday’s signing deadline.
But because he remains yet unsigned, there is necessarily this technical chance that he won’t sign, and that makes nervous people nervous.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer addressed the issue with the media recently, reiterating his belief that a deal will get done, while applying a little nudge.
“There’s no update,” Hoyer said Monday, per Cubs.com. “We basically have four or five days left of discussions. We’re confident we’ll get it done. We’ll make it an exceptionally fair offer. If Kris wants to be a Cub and be a professional baseball player, I’m confident we’ll get a deal done. Sometimes it takes a deadline to make a deal, and we have a deadline coming up shortly. In a lot of ways, I think it’s a plus at this point.”
If he wants to be a pro and do all the wonderful things that come along with that, he’ll sign, Jed says. Nudge, nudge.
A source on Bryant’s side of things (someone in agent Scott Boras’s camp, perhaps?) tells ESPN that although things are in a “holding pattern” right now, there’s no concern that a deal won’t get done.
“There’s a few questions marks they’re trying to button up,” the source told ESPN. “This has not been adversarial whatsoever.”
So, all in all, there remain no reasons to be concerned that Bryant will do the unthinkable and not sign. He’s coming off an historic college season, was selected second overall, and risks so very much by returning to school (with almost no upside). He just won’t risk it.
Why the holding pattern, then? Well, I imagine that it’s simply a matter of the Cubs getting their other signing ducks in a row (i.e., how much they plan to spend over slot on picks after the 10th round, and thus how much they can give to Bryant without going more than 5% over their total signing bonus pool (and thus losing a future first round draft pick)).
Once all of that is clear – and it may be already, given Tyler Alamo’s apparent signing this weekend – there will be a negotiation within a very small range of bonuses, and the deal will be finalized within the next few days.