At long last, per reports, outfielder Jose Bautista will be re-signing with the Toronto Blue Jays on a one-year deal with options thereafter. That’s notable because he’s a notable player, but the market-level implications – and, thus, our interest in the signing – have been greatly diminished by the passing of the offseason, and the moves around the rest of the league. That is to say, Bautista re-upping with the Blue Jays probably does not likely trigger this move or that move, which triggers another, which winds up impacting the Cubs. And, since the Cubs do not play in the AL East, the impact here of the signing is rather limited.
But it’s not zero!
It was a particularly bad year for a team to have a late first-round draft pick and hope that it would climb by several spots in the event teams ahead of that team signed qualified free agents.
There were a limited number of qualifying offers made in the first place – just 10 – and two were accepted. Of the eight remaining qualified free agents, now that Bautista is returning to the Blue Jays, a full half of them wound up re-signing with their old team, meaning that no first round draft pick was sacrificed. And the one still on the market (Mark Trumbo) is negotiating with his former team.
That means the Cubs’ 30th overall pick, last in the first round, will probably have moved up a lousy three spots when all is said and done. Last year, by contrast, the 30th-picking-Cardinals managed to move all the way up to 23rd because of free agent signings. The difference is not only four spots, but also some $150,000 in pool money. Grumble.
At least the Cubs’ compensatory pick for losing Dexter Fowler (currently number 30 overall) was not moved down any further by these signings – had a team with a protected first round pick (or a team that already forfeited its first round pick) signed a qualified free agent, they would lose their second rounder, but the outgoing team would have picked up a compensatory draft pick ahead of the Cubs’ compensatory draft pick. So, well, that’s something.
At the end of my overly nit-picky whining, we’re left with the following:
The Cubs currently have the 27th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, as well as the 30th overall pick. If Mark Trumbo does re-sign with the Orioles, those picks will stay right there. If he signs with a team without a protected first round pick, then the Cubs’ picks will be 26 and 30. If he signs with a team with a protected first round pick (or with a team that has already lost its first round pick), then the Cubs’ picks will be 27 and 31.