Over the past few seasons (“the rebuild”), the Chicago Cubs have been celebrated for their collection of minor league talent and depth. Trades and international signings certainly play their role in that, but the draft is, in many ways, the foundation for that success.
When the new front office took over in 2012, the CBA had just been changed, limiting the amount of money a team could spend in the draft (without suffering the kind of pick-loss penalties no team has yet dared accept). At the time, we knew that would be a challenging obstacle to overcome, but opined that this front office would do whatever they could to extract as much talent from the draft, anyway.
Well last season, the third under the new CBA, Brett took a look at how much the Cubs had been spending in the post “new” CBA era, and he found that they were at the very top. In that article, Brett references a Clint Longenecker (Baseball America) tweet that notes that the Cubs have spent more above their bonus pool over the past three drafts (2012-2014) than any other team in baseball. With another draft out of the way, it seems that trend has continued.
According to this article in Baseball America, the Chicago Cubs once again exceeded their bonus pool – by 4.73% – by spending a total of $7,578,700 (their pool was $7.236,100). A team can exceed their pool only by up to 5% before losing a pick in a subsequent draft (instead, they simply pay a tax on the amount of the overage), so this is right up against the most they could have reasonably spent. Only four teams – Rangers, Giants, Indians, Dodgers – spent greater than the 4.74% overage the Cubs dished out.
Over the past four years, then, the Cubs have spent the third most money overall ($38,251,300) on the draft, behind only the Astros and Rockies. Having high picks in the first round – and thus, bigger bonuses – helps that cause (and that’s certainly why the Astros and Rockies are on top), but it’s good to see nonetheless.
As the Cubs continue to perform better and finish higher in the standings, their ranking among the “total money spent” list will fall, as their bonus pool falls alongside it. However, the Cubs are as good of a bet as any to continue to spend as much as they can (up to that 5% overage) as any team in baseball.
If you missed any of the Cubs’ draft and signing coverage, it was a top-heavy draft, with most of the Cubs’ bonus pool funding going to the top four picks: Ian Happ, Donnie Dewees, Bryan Hudson, and D.J. Wilson. You can see the Cubs’ full draft results and signings here (though you should note that 12th rounder P.J. Higgins has signed and is playing in the Cubs’ system, despite the “unsigned” tag).