I suppose it was my fault that Friday night’s game took forever (and the Cubs lost) because I was keeping track of the amount of time an average nine-inning game would take. I think it’s a good thing to keep track of because of the future direction the game is likely to take with respect to pace of play and the inevitable pitch clock, but it seemed that the games in regulation did better on day two:
Just a quick check as MLB action ends for the day…8 games finished in regulation, averaging 2 hours 56 minutes. So it's moving along, right?
— World Series Dreaming (@WSDreaming_Cubs) March 31, 2018
Anyway! While the Cubs are sleeping off their offensive hangover, the division rival Cardinals decided to officially make a move of their own:
#STLCards announce the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Greg Holland to a one-year contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Alex Reyes has been transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. pic.twitter.com/grL9riueK9
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 31, 2018
Greg Holland will be the last free agent tied to draft pick compensation to be signed, which means barring a trade of competitive balance picks, the draft order is pretty much set for the Rule 4 Draft in June. The Cubs don’t have the largest spending pool, but it is pretty substantial at $7,517,100. Spending at up to five percent over their allotment will just cost money (and not future draft picks), so effectively, the Cubs are allowed to spend up to $7,892,955 for the picks in the first ten rounds, and anything over $125,000 for picks in the later rounds is counted towards that amount.
Holland’s signing means the Cardinals are supposed to lose their second highest pick, which is either their pick in Competitive Balance Round A or the second round (the various news services suggest it’s the latter, and MLB.com’s site suggest the same). The Rays will get another compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B, and since they had a worse record than the Cardinals, they should get the very first pick after Round B. This shouldn’t substantially affect the Cubs’ pick order right now, so that gives them the following picks in the first 100:
- First round, #24 overall
- Second round, #62 overall
- After Round B, #77 & #78 overall (maybe bumped down to #78 and #79 when they update with the Rays’ pick)
- Third round, #98 overall (probably bumped down to #99)
So that’s five picks in the top three rounds, and four in the first day of the draft. This is a very important draft and amateur signing year for the Cubs, who just got out of the international signing penalty box (now with a hard spending cap) and will stay under the luxury tax threshold to maintain their draft allotment before they blow the bank for free agents like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado next winter. There is a possibility that trades could be made to grab the competitive balance picks (the only ones that can be traded) or for additional international pool space, so keep an eye out for that too, even if less likely. If there’s one thing we know about this Cubs front office, though, it’s that they keep their options open and usually execute a plan to perfection, and snagging talent is definitely part of their playbook.