Catching up on Cubs News, Notes … and Rumors

While a majority of the players and coaching staff are receiving a little breather due to the festivities in Kansas City, the Cubs’ front office does not appear to be taking a break.

News surfaced Monday that the Cubs agreed to terms with first round pick Albert Almora. Almora and second round pick Duane Underwood were in Chicago on Monday to take their physicals. The Cubs are expected to make both signings official in the next few days. Once the draft picks are taken care of, the front office is expected to focus on the upcoming trade deadline.

The rumor mill heated up over the weekend and the next three weeks figure to be very busy for the Cubs.

Here is the update …

Albert Almora and the 2012 First-Year Player Draft
The deadline to sign players selected in last month’s draft is Friday, July 13 and the Cubs have signed their top 20 picks, including Albert Almora. While the Almora signing is not official, he is expected to be signed prior to Friday’s deadline.

The Cubs spent $373,800 over their allotted bonus pool of $7,933,900 for the first 10 rounds which will cost the organization a luxury tax of $280,350 but the Cubs will not lose any picks in next year’s draft. Bonuses for players signed after the first 10 rounds do not count against the overall budget, unless they exceed $100,000.

The following is a list of the Cubs first 20 picks and the amount of their signing bonus … the pool amount for the pick is in parenthesis.

  • Rd 1 – Albert Almora (OF) – $3,900,000 ($3,250,000)
  • Rd 1s – Pierce Johnson (RHP) – $1,196,000 ($1,196,000)
  • Rd 1s – Paul Blackburn (RHP) – $911,700 ($911,700)
  • Rd 2 – Duane Underwood (RHP) – $1,050,000 ($769,600)
  • Rd 3 – Ryan McNeil (RHP) – $425,000 ($471,900)
  • Rd 4 – Josh Conway (RHP) – $280,000 ($343,200)
  • Rd 5 – Anthony Prieto (LHP) – $200,000 ($257,000)
  • Rd 6 – Trey Lang (RHP) – $165,000 ($192,500)
  • Rd 7 – Stephen Bruno (2B) – $150,000 ($148,600)
  • Rd 8 – Michael Heesch (LHP) – $100,000 ($138,800)
  • Rd 9 – Chadd Krist (C) – $100,000 ($129,600)
  • Rd 10 – Chad Martin (RHP) – $100,000 ($125,000)
  • Rd 11 – Rashad Crawford (OF)
  • Rd 12 – Justin Amlung (RHP)
  • Rd 13 – Bijan Rademacher (OF)
  • Rd 14 – Corbin Hoffner (RHP)
  • Rd 15 – Carlos Escobar (C)
  • Rd 16 – Mike Hamann (RHP)
  • Rd 17 – Nathan Dorris (LHP)
  • Rd 18 – David Bote (SS)

Baseball America – 2012 MLB Draft Database – Chicago Cubs

Rumors, Rumors and More Rumors
Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are the two Cubs garnering the most attention right now … but that could change as the deadline draws closer.

Several teams scouted Matt Garza at his last start in Atlanta. According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, the Blue Jays, Reds, Indians, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Cardinals all had scouts at Garza’s last outing. Garza has also been connected to the Tigers, Yankees, Braves and Rangers through the rumor mill. Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Cubs recently had scouts watch the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate … but talks between the Cubs and Tigers are not thought to be serious.

Danny Knobler confirmed the Tigers’ interest in Garza and that the Cubs scouted the Tigers’ Double-A Erie team … but Tigers’ people told Knobler that a Garza deal “is fairly unlikely”.

The Blue Jays are a team to keep an eye on. Toronto was interested in trading for Matt Garza in the off-season but according to reports Alex Anthropolous was not willing to meet the Cubs asking price. Reports have suggested that the Jays are looking to add pitchers, such as Matt Garza or Wandy Rodriguez that would have another year of control remaining on their current contract.

Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that Garza could make sense for the Red Sox. The Sox have luxury-tax issues and are not looking to add payroll. The Cubs are willing to send money in order to receive better players in return.

The Dodgers are still considered to be the front-runner to land Ryan Dempster. There were multiple teams in attendance for Dempster’s start Sunday in New York. Along with the Dodgers, the Cardinals, Braves, Yankees, White Sox and Indians have been connected to Ryan Dempster.

The Tigers also asked the Cubs about Darwin Barney. According to Jon Paul Morosi, the talks between the Cubs and Tigers for Barney didn’t progress.

Paul Maholm, Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano have also drawn interest from teams. The Dodgers have scouted Bryan LaHair and reports have suggested that the Rays have shown interest in Soriano. The extent of the Rays interest in Soriano is unknown.

News and Notes

Dale Sveum announced his rotation for after the break. Paul Maholm, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza will start the three-game series against the Diamondbacks with Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija taking the hill for the first two games against the Marlins.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs’ brass is planning on discussing the roster during the break. Tony Campana will be one of the topics of conversation … and whether or not he should stay with the big league club or go down to Iowa so he can play every day.

Josh Vitters was selected as a reserve for the 25th annual Triple-A All-Star Game, which is Wednesday, July 11. The MLB Network will televise the game from Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York. The network’s coverage begins at 6:00pm CDT.

Ian Stewart is scheduled to have surgery on his left wrist Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic. Stewart is hoping to return before the end of the season. Reports have suggested that Stewart will not return this year. Stewart is arbitration eligible next year and is a non-tender candidate this off-season.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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Quote of the Day

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