Bryant Close to Signing...Ruins Deadline Drama
UPDATE: Bryant has indeed signed at slot value of $6,708,400, according to Sullivan. That would put the Cubs at $10,743,400 and $186,900 over and would still have $340,925 to play with before having to worry about losing a draft pick.
So a few weeks back, Jon Heyman must have been starved for a story or gets paid by the headline and decided to freak everyone out with some alarming piece about the Cubs and Bryant seemingly miles apart in negotiations. The rest of the sane world realized that this is Scott Boras and he'll wait until the last possible minute and get the most money he can out of the Cubs, but the odds were quite low that it wouldn't get done.
Lo and behold, Heyman is back today saying that the Cubs and Bryant are nearing a "record" deal. The deal isn't done yet and the details are scarce, but earlier reports were Bryant wanting over $6.7M which was the slot value, while the Cubs wanted to pay more in the $6M range. Now the Cubs can go as high as $7,049,325 by my calculations and still stay withing the 5% penalty that would cost them just a tax. Any higher and they start losing draft picks. BUT...they allegedly already signed 24th round pick Tyler Alamo and 12th round Trevor Clifton and both were expected to land deals over $100K which will go against the bonuss cap. An earlier story on Clifton's signing said he wanted 3rd round money and got it (anywhere between $490K to $747K). So it remains to be seen what Bryant will get, but I'm putting the over/under at $6.5M.
As for the "record' portion of the report, I'm not sure what that is in reference to. I believe Stephen Strasburg currently owns the bonus record at $7.5M and it's highly unlikely that the Cubs will top that because that would end up costing them a draft pick next year. Maybe it's a Cubs record that Mark Prior currently holds at $4M (although Soler received a $6M bonus, but he wasn't drafted). Or it's a record for baseball since they installed the cap, which Mark Appel currently owns at $6.35M. Why would the Cubs pay more for Bryant? Well leverage is the key, Appel had less as a college senior unless he wanted to try independent ball route that Luke Hochevar manuevered a few years back into a higher deal. Bryant though, as a college junior, could head back to San Diego and hope he gets picked #1 next year and get whatever #1 slot money is in 2014, which does adjust for inflation.