The Chicago Cubs get to pick second this June in the MLB Rule 4 Draft as part of their “reward” for sucking so much last season. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess) they were unable to suck as much as the Astros so they might lose out on the overall best player available, unless the Astros decide to implement their Carlos Correa plan again. Not that Correa was a terrible pick, but everyone expected them to pick Mark Appel and then Houston was like:
Anyway, there are a number of different options to choose at #2 for the Cubs. If you haven’t already, I recommend that you follow John Arguello’s Cubs Den draft blogs as he is very good at keeping tabs on high school and college players who have tremendous tools and upside that would fit the Cubs’ needs. We really should get him on one of our podcasts but I keep forgetting to e-mail the guy.
The important news du jour comes from Jim Callis over at Baseball America, who was able to obtain the slot bonus allotments for the first ten rounds for every club. Since the Cubs had no marquee free agents that deserved a qualifying offer and were not considered an underrepresented market, they received neither a compensatory sandwich round pick nor a competitive balance pick. However, because the Cubs did not go after a marquee free agent that was tied to compensation (i.e. a Josh Hamilton or a Michael Bourn), they didn’t lose a pick either, and therefore have ten picks in the first ten rounds. The Cubs have exactly $10,556,500 to spend for these ten picks. The most recent collective bargaining agreement dictates that the Cubs can spend overslot up to 5% total before they must forfeit future first round draft picks. Therefore, the overage is $527,825 which brings the total that they can spend on the top ten picks to $11,084,325.
Later on we may find out approximately how much each slot, per round, is truly worth. But my guess is that the Cubs blow their load on the first four or five picks, then sign low- or no-leverage players for the next several rounds until they get to the eleventh round. Once they get to the eleventh round and beyond, the Cubs can then select whoever they want regardless of signability, as they will not forfeit that slot’s pool of money should the player refuse to sign. It is imperative, however, that with the second overall pick the Cubs sign somebody who can make an eventual impact on the organization. It is true that not signing the player at #2 will allow them to earn a compensatory pick at #3 in 2014’s draft, but that comes with a loss of an impact player and one year of development time. Someone is going to get picked here. The question now is whom it will be. And the good news is that at least the Cubs have more money to play with than last time around.