It was already clear that the Cubs had made out well in the offseason by gaining two compensatory picks while losing none, but they’re looking even better now that the bonus allotments for the upcoming draft have been set. We’ll get to that latter bit here in a moment, but let’s make sure everyone is clear on that draft pick business first.
In all honesty, I’d been meaning to write something about this matter a while ago and then just got caught up with the start of the season. Until, that is, Michael Cerami’s post over at Bleacher Nation jogged my memory. I’d tell you to go read that one if you haven’t already, but that’d kinda defeat the purpose of continuing with mine and earning me mad fat revenues.
So, you know, proceed as you wish.
Signing Yu Darvish to a deal that was $25-50 million less than many had projected was a coup in and of itself. The Cubs had also targeted Tyler Chatwood since well before they picked him up on a $38 million deal they view as a great value. But what makes those signings even better is that neither pitcher came with a qualifying offer attached.
The two most notable pitchers the Cubs lost, on the other hand, had been extended a QO and thus were tied to draft-pick compensation. When Wade Davis signed in Colorado and Jake Arrieta in Baltimore, the Cubs were granted picks after Competitive Balance Round B (picks 77 and 78). Combined with their standard picks in the first three rounds, that gives the Cubs five of the first 98 picks and 12 in 10 rounds.
Those picks in turn net the Cubs a larger bonus pool, since each selection is tied to a slot value. The exact total is $7,491,700, which is 20th most in MLB for 2018. Baseball America has a full list of draft order and corresponding slot values (first link above), but I’ll assume you’re really only concerned with the Cubs’ picks.
Rd. 1 (24) $2,724,000
Rd. 2 (63) $1,035,000
Arrieta (77) $775,100
Davis (78) $762,900
Rd. 3 (98) $570,000
Rd. 4 (128) $426,100
Rd. 5 (158) $317,000
Rd. 6 (188) $245,600
Rd. 7 (218) $192,500
Rd. 8 (248) $159,100
Rd. 9 (278) $145,100
Rd. 10 (308) $137,600
That gives them just a wee bit of breathing room, though only about $1,700 if I punched the numbers into my calculator correctly. A little under-slot here or there with some of those top picks, then, could really go a long way. And that’s assuming the Cubs sign all of those selections as well.
What’s really important here is that a team that made it to the NLCS and that doesn’t have its first pick until No. 24 actually has about 5.3 percent ($400,000) more money to spend than last year. Of course, that’s somewhat mitigated by the overall 4.2 percent increase in slot values over 2017. But when you look at it in terms of pure value, that surplus over last year is roughly equivalent to a 4th round pick.
Now all they’ve got to do is make the most of those picks and turn them into major league ballplayers. No biggie.