Today, one of the Chicago Cubs’ talent-grab picks in the 2013 Draft signed his contract, according to the best source we’ve got: himself.
Here’s the tweet:
The signing probably won’t be officially official until Alamo passes a physical, and, as we saw with 14th rounder Daniel Poncedeleon, the deal can fall apart even after the tweet-a-picture-of-the-contract-signing thing.
That said, assuming Alamo’s deal becomes finally final, this is a great signing for the Cubs, and a great grab in the 24th round. Alamo, a high school catcher out of Cypress, California, was one of the best high school catchers in a draft that was extremely deep in them. Alamo was the 348th draft prospect to Baseball America, and MLB.com heaped high praise: “Alamo is a physical high school catcher who has room on his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame to get even stronger. He already generates good bat speed and has the potential to develop plus power. To unlock his power potential, however, Alamo will have to improve his approach and pitch-recognition skills. Defensively, Alamo has good tools, but is still is a work in progress as he learns to use his big body behind the plate. He has an above-average arm and good hands.”
Alamo would instantly become one of the better – albeit younger – catching prospects in the Cubs’ system (which is as much praise of Alamo as it is damnation of the position in the Cubs’ system right now).
What’s equally important here, though, is that there is a belief that Alamo was going to require an over slot bonus to sign. Remember, players taken after the top ten rounds can be signed for up to $100,000 without it counting against the team’s bonus pool. Any amount over that counts against the pool.
The Cubs are already well over their pool amount right now, as we’ve discussed before, which is largely because they have yet to sign first round pick Kris Bryant (if you don’t sign a player, you lose that pick’s portion of the pool). Some of the Cubs’ top ten round picks have been signed for over slot, so the team technically stands in the red right now.
Where am I going with this? Well, if the Cubs had serious doubts about their ability to sign Kris Bryant, or believed that he was going to require an over slot bonus to sign, they probably wouldn’t be inking any over slot deals in the later rounds – like Alamo – just yet.
Now, I want to caveat a few things:
(1) We don’t *know* that Alamo is getting over slot. We also don’t know, even if he is getting over slot, how much over slot it is. Alamo always seemed (on Twitter) pretty eager to get his professional career underway, so it’s theoretically possible that he didn’t get a massive amount over $100,000.
(2) We don’t know if the deal with 12th round pick Trevor Clifton, which is reportedly well over slot, is official or impacts these calculations just yet. If that deal isn’t happening, then the calculus here changes a bit.
(3) We don’t know if the Cubs are just being very aggressive, and are willing to take their chances on Bryant not signing, irrespective of what they do with their later round signings (calling his bluff, so to speak, and backing it up by already putting themselves into the serious penalty range – I really doubt this one, by the way, given that the Cubs would be risking losing a first round pick next year; instead, I would imagine that the Cubs have communicated to Bryant and Scott Boras that, “hey, we’re signing these X, Y, and Z kids for over slot, and this is what we have available to sign Bryant – take it or leave it, because we’re not going to put ourself into a position to lose a draft pick”).
Those caveats considered, all I’m saying is that this is probably a good sign – at worst, it’s neutral – that the Cubs and Bryant are getting close to a deal at a price where the Cubs have the confidence that they can finalize some later round over slot deals without risking serious penalties. That was probably always the case, and there never really has been serious concern that Bryant wouldn’t sign.
But I feel just a touch better with this news than I did before. The signing deadline, by the way, is this coming Friday, July 12.