Considering the Chicago Cubs’ draft spending and international spending spree in 2013 – Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Jen-Ho Tseng, et al – this front office has shown an interest in spending lavishly (relatively speaking) where they can when it comes to amateur talent. With that international spending, however, came a set of restrictions that forced the Cubs to sit out the high-end of IFA signings during the last cycle. Those restrictions expire for the next IFA period, which opens July 2, and there’s been speculation for some time that the Cubs would be among the teams once again blowing out their budget.
Kiley McDaniel takes that speculation a step further, and flat out reports a list of names and dollar figures for IFA prospects to which he believes the Cubs are connected. You’re going to want to check out his report here. There are seven prospects discussed, with bonuses ranging from $2 million down to $350,000.
The biggest Cuban name (pitcher Yadier Alvares) you may recognize is not connected to the Cubs, but there are still a number of youngsters whose markets are still clarifying. If the Cubs are going to blow their budget, I’ve got to believe they’ll do their best to bring in as much talent as possible.
Importantly, the penalties for overspending in the IFA market have changed since the last time the Cubs did it. Now, teams who blow out their budget are subject to two years of spending restrictions (can’t sign any individual player for more than $300,000). The big wrinkle there is the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires after the 2016 season. When the CBA is renegotiated, everyone expects this area to be re-addressed, which may include the implementation of a worldwide draft. What would happen to teams that blow out their budget this year (2015-16 class), thus incurring penalties for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 classes? Might this be the last time teams can really blow their budget in this way? Would blowing the budget now subject them to a loss of draft picks in the next CBA? Would teams agree to that kind of retroactive change of penalties? Or would the penalties simply go away?
That’s all fairly up in the air right now, but, suffice it to say: there’s risk involved in blowing the budget now (as well as potential upside).
Once we get closer to the open of the next period, this will become a more regularly-discussed topic, and I’ll dig in more on the prospects connected to the Cubs, the mechanics of IFA spending, and the prospects out there who aren’t yet connected to any particular team. For now, I just wanted to get this topic on your desk, and get McDaniel’s report in front of you.