Apropos of nothing in particular, here’s something about the Chicago Cubs’ draft spending. We know that the Cubs spent a lot this year, and the last two years, but maybe this will contextualize things a little bit.
A couple weeks ago, Jim Callis wrote at length about the 2014 draft, including a deep look at how teams spent their money. It’s a great read.
In it, Callis notes that the Cubs spent $9,783,000 on the draft this year, or 117.1% of their $8,352,200 pool*. That’s the highest percentage spent among the teams with the largest 13 pools (on a percentage basis, it’s a little easier to go way over with a few $100,000 signings in the later rounds if you’ve got a small pool).
*(You’re wondering how the Cubs went over by so much without incurring a significant penalty – that spending total includes signees after the 10th round, who can be signed for up to $100,000, but do not count against the pool.)
That’s all a way to say that the Cubs did, indeed, spend a lot of money on the draft his year. As you already knew, they spent the maximum 5% beyond their original bonus pool, which is as much as a team can spend without losing a future draft pick.
Taking it back three drafts – aka the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod era – Clint Longnecker at Baseball America really hammers it home:
In the last 3 drafts, no team has spent more above their bonus pool than the Cubs at $1,297,500. Cardinals second at $956,390
— Clint Longenecker (@Clint_BA) July 28, 2014
There’s only so much you can do in the draft when it comes to spending these days, but the Cubs are doing it.
Yes, it is fair to point out that draft spending – even excessive draft spending – pales in comparison to excessive free agent spending. Being a top spender on the amateur side, and being a top spender on the pro side, are obviously two very different things. Query whether it’s actually wise to be on top of the latter category in the current era, but that’s a separate debate.
All that said, here’s how we can frame things: teams are restricted these days in how much they can spend on the draft. The Chicago Cubs have spent as much as they possibly can in the draft for three straight years, and did so, relatively-speaking, more than any other team in baseball.
Debate how much money is involved all you want, but at least these guys are making good on the organizational philosophy they espouse. And I think it’s probably a very good idea.