Last week, we got word that the Chicago Cubs had officially signed a number of their top draft picks, including second rounder Jake Stinnett, and we could start getting a very clear picture of what the Cubs will be able to spend on their last few remaining over slot types.
Adding to that picture, Jim Callis has reported that Cubs 7th Rounder James Norwood, a top 150 type draft prospect, signed for $175,000. On the one hand, that’s excellent news, because there was a concern that Norwood might cost over the $201,900 slot value for his pick. That’s another $27,000 that the Cubs just saved to be used elsewhere. On the other hand, the excitement of the news is muted somewhat by the fact that a below-slot bonus for a 7th round pick suggests baseball folks weren’t quite as high on Norwood as the third party ranking services.
Updating the Cubs’ bonus pool picture:
1. Kyle Schwarber – Signed for $3,125,000 (Slot amount: $4,621,200)
2. Jake Stinnett – Signed for $1,000,000 (Slot amount: $1,250,400)
3. Mark Zagunis – Signed for $615,000 (Slot amount: $714,900)
4. Carson Sands – Signed for $1,100,000 (Slot amount: $480,600)
5. Justin Steele – Signed for $1,000,000 (Slot amount: $359,900)
6. Dylan Cease – Unsigned, expected over slot (Slot amount: $269,500)
7. James Norwood – Signed for $175,000 (Slot amount: $201,900)
8. Tommy Thorpe - Unsigned (but strong signals), uncertain on expectation (Slot amount: $161,800) (UPDATE: See Tommy’s comment below. Looks like he’s signed.)
9. James Farris – Unsigned, expected under slot (Slot amount: $151,000)
10. Ryan Williams – Unsigned, expected under slot (Slot amount: $141,000) (UPDATE: See Tommy’s comment below. Looks like he’s signed.)
The Cubs are up to $613,900 in savings below the bonus pool allotment. That does not included expected savings on their 9th and 10th Rounders (senior players), but does include the reported deal for 3rd Rounder Mark Zagunis, which has not yet been confirmed by the Cubs.
Throw in the additional $417,610 the Cubs can spend without incurring a loss of draft pick penalty (just a $ penalty), and the team now has $1,031,510 extra to play with to sign guys like Dylan Cease or Isiah Gilliam. And keep in mind: Cease has a slot value of $269,500 to start with – we’re talking about what the Cubs can spend on top of that.
In other words, if we conservatively estimate $200,000 in total savings on the Cubs’ 9th and 10th Round picks, the Cubs could sign Cease for $1 million, and would then still have about $500,000 left in “over slot” money. Would $600,000 be enough to entice Gilliam to go pro? It’s hard to say. It’s also hard to know at this point whether $1 million is enough to get Cease, or whether Gilliam would be the Cubs’ top post-11th Round target (based on where he was picked and his scouting reports, it sure seems like it).