Fear not, Cubs fans.
No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 Rule 4 draft Kris Bryant will eventually sign a deal with the Cubs despite reports that both parties are far from inking any contracts. This comes on the heels of other first round selections like Mark Appel, Clint Frazier and others are locking up deals with their respective major league squads.
The Cubs have had no issue striking deals with other draft selections, so why the delay from Bryant?
There are a couple of reasons that come top of mind when addressing this situation. Firstly, Bryant is represented by MLB super agent Scott Boras, who is known to represent some of the highest profile and highest paid players in the league. Boras is also known for getting the most cash for his clients in negotiations, by any means necessary.
Secondly, the Cubs have a nice little pocket of cash reserved for signing their draft selections because of their awful 2012 season. This $10.56 million allowance is expected to cover all of the Cubs draft signings and is quite a generous amount to accomplish this task.
Bryant is seeking roughly $6.7 million of this allowance while the Cubs are looking to part with $6 million, leaving an additional $700K for an another signing or two. This extra cash could go a long way, and the Cubs are clearly willing to fight for it.
Boras/Bryant are simply playing hardball for the extra cash and Theo and Jed, being savvy in this type of negotiation, are willing to push it to the July 12 signing deadline.
Is it wrong for Bryant to be asking for more than slot value at this point? Not at all. Boras is doing his job by trying to earn Bryant as much cash as possible for his services. Waiting until the very last second to sign can also ensure that Bryant receives the remaining value of the budget, would could be closer to $6.5 million, thus tying the hands of the Cubs front office. Crafty moves, but it’s not uncommon.
Bryant and the Cubs will certainly reach a deal before the deadline, no matter the price. The Cubs want Bryant and Bryant will unlikely want to be the 2013 version of Mark Appel, who couldn’t sign a deal with the Pirates after being selected 8th overall in 2012.
It’s just the business of baseball.