Today, Baseball America’s Jim Callis reported that Tyler Alamo, the Chicago Cubs’ 24th round pick this year, signed for $100,000 – the maximum allowed without counting against the team’s bonus pool.
Not only is the news a pleasant surprise in terms of it confirming that the Cubs were able to bring Alamo – a catching prospect whose talent far outstrips where he was picked in the Draft – but also in terms of the bonus, which many suspected would be a fair bit higher. Because Alamo received $100,000, none of his bonus amount will count against the Cubs’ bonus pool, which was feeling a bit up-against-it after top pick Kris Bryant reportedly received his full slot amount (about $6.7 million).
The Alamo signing, together with the Bryant deal, should leave the Cubs about $340,000 extra with which to sign – for example – 12th round high school pitcher Trevor Clifton, who has long been reported to be in the fold (but for “third round money”). That $340,000 extra – together with the $100,000 limit for picks after the 10th round (totaling a $440,000 offer) – wouldn’t quite give the Cubs enough to offer “third round money” to Clifton, but it’s darn close. Going over that amount to get Clifton (or any other later round pick) would put the Cubs more than 5% over their bonus pool, and would subject them to losing a future first round pick. The Cubs aren’t going to do that.
I tend to think that the Cubs have had all of this planned out for some time, and the Bryant deal/bonus was contingent on the Clifton bonus (as in, Bryant gives as much as the Cubs can give him, as long as it leaves them enough to make a reasonable offer to Clifton – but signing Bryant is the obvious priority). For that reason, I’m cautiously optimistic that they’ll get a deal finalized with Clifton by tomorrow. We’ll see.