Report: Cubs and Bryant Not Close on a Deal

According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Cubs and Kris Bryant are not close on deal and with the way the negotiations have gone so far, it could take right up to the July 12 deadline before he signs.

Heyman went into a little more detail than previous reports but this is not the first time it has been reported that Bryant might not sign until right before the deadline. Kris Bryant is a Scott Boras client (not officially, Boras is advising Bryant), so the delay is to be expected. Boras has a little leverage in these negotiations because Bryant has the option of returning to the University of San Diego for his senior season.

According to Jon Heyman’s report, the Cubs and Kris Bryant are “nowhere close to a deal according to people familiar with the talks.” Heyman pointed out that Bryant is looking for “something above the $6.7 million slot allotted for the No. 2 pick while it is believed the Cubs are thinking something close to the $6 million range.” The actual slot value for the Cubs’ first round pick is $6,708,400.

The Cubs are pointing toward the under-slot deal of $6.35 million that Mark Appel signed with the Astros, according to Heyman, as the reason they would like to sign Bryant for under his slot amount and just below what Appel signed.

Heyman reiterated previous reports that Bryant is looking for the top signing bonus in the draft.

The Cubs would not have selected Bryant without knowing what it would take to sign him knowing the importance of the pick for the organization going forward. While this is newsworthy because of what is involved, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have 16 days to wrap up the deal and get Bryant in the system … and if they cannot, the leeway they’ve been given to build an organization with sustained success will end abruptly.

Full Report from Jon Heyman

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  • raymondrobertkoenig

    No surprise.

  • DWalker

    As I said in the other thread, Worst case, Cubs get #3 pick and probably # 4-6 in what could be a much stronger class next year, but I just don’t see it happening even with Boras. However, another thought occured to me. Considering how often left is right and stop is go with this FO, I would not be surprised if there is a signing in the next few days. Not saying it will happen, but seems to be a pattern

  • Theboardrider

    I was more concerned with Almora last year and they pulled that off. This deal will get done.

    But I don’t really blame either side for what they are asking. However, I think the Appel deal is a good precedent and there is no reason for Bryant to expect to get much more than Appel did, if anything more at all. The Cubs should hold firm on this in my opinion.

    • paulcatanese

      That really depends on what side of the fence one sits.
      If the pitchers health holds true, and so many of them break down for any number of things, and only get into the scheme every fifth day, then that is a case for more money for an everyday player, where his impact is a lot more than the pitcher.
      Since I was not a pitcher, ever, my side holds for the every day player, and would expect more in the amount of dollars to sign.
      And since they were so close (1-2 ) they are the same cause one pitches and one plays the field.
      At any rate I had posted that Bryant may want to finish school, so dollar amount at this point is a mute point, only if Bryant decides to turn pro this year is it important.

    • J Daniel

      Big difference … what are Appel’s options? Bryant does have the leverage.

  • Bryan

    So they are around $500k off. With all the money the club is pissing away on Stewart, Marmol, etc, it’s amazing that they squabble now over a half-million.

    • Ray Ray

      That’s a months worth of Non-Fat Extra Hot 5 pump Latte’s for Jed and Theo at Starbucks :)

      But seriously…..with the budget restrictions if they go over…you can lose your 1st round draft pick for next year. You need to stay under budget.

      • Ripsnorter1

        They signed some lower picks at over slot, and now…..

        I won’t say anything more, except that Team Theo need to come thru on this one.

        And all of this talk of “it’s never been heard of that a lower pick gets more than the #1 pick…” well, like I said at the time, “there’s always a first time.” And with this FO, …..

        • Ray Ray

          It’s seems as if Bryant wants alot more than Appel. I have never heard of the 2nd pick getting paid more than the 1st pick but like you said…”there’s always a first”

          • JasonPen

            it happened last year with Correa and Buxton…

          • Ray Ray

            That makes sense since Houston was looking to cut a deal. You are right….but the difference is that Appel was the #1 prospect coming in this year and Correa wasn’t and made a pre-draft deal to save the Astros money.

          • JasonPen

            But, Buxton only got 6 million from the Twins… there’s leverage there for the Cubs.

            I say write him a check for 6 million, if he takes it, good. If not…. Then we have 2 of the top 5 picks next year (in a much better draft)

            Maybe we draft Bryant again at #3 and remind him of how he turned down 6 million as he is signing for much less. That would be great.

          • Ray Ray

            Sounds good to me. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to get 2 picks next year(especially since everyone has been saying how much better that draft will be)

          • daverj

            I think the Cubs signed Prior (#2) for more than Mauer (#1).

  • Tim R

    Unfortunately for Bryant, the perceived leverage here doesn’t really exist. Bryant’s situation is a very different than the one Appel faced last year given where each player was drafted. Appel was the either overall pick and garnered a $3.8M offer from the Pirates. Turning down $3.8M with thee potential to turn that into $6 – $7M is very different than turning down $6-$7M to potentially earn slightly more, or potentially, much less.

    Let’s say the Cubs offer Bryant $6M and tell him to take it or leave it. If he leaves it and returns to school, the best he can hope for is to be the #1 or #2 overall pick, which based on this year’s market is worth ~$6.3 – $6M. One could argue that if Bryant somehow became the top pick next year, that he could demand slot or over slot, but that’s simply not realistic given that he will have graduated, leaving little negotiating leverage. Further, is there anything more Bryant can prove playing against the current level of competition that might improve his draft stock? Not really. If anything, it seems more likely that Bryant’s performance dips slightly, other players start to stick out, or teams shy away from him due to his financial demands, pushing Bryant’s stock down. Worse, Bryant could get injured and really hurt his earning potential.

    There’s simply no reason this deal doesn’t get done. The Cubs want it to get done and so does Bryant. Holding out for more money makes perfect sense, but ultimately, the risk of returning to school FAR outweighs the potential benefit, so unless Bryant is stupid, or getting really poor advice, this gets done.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Let’s say bryant walks away. He returns to school, and he does a bangup job like Appel did this past year. And let’s say he does it because he doesn’t want to be in the Chicago system, which has had a terrible time bringing their draft picks in the system to the ML. He’d win twice: more dough, and a different team: most likely, ahem, Miami!

      • 07GreyDigger

        “And let’s say he does it because he doesn’t want to be in the Chicago system, which has had a terrible time bringing their draft picks in the system to the ML.”

        Rip, that was the previous regime. Whatever they did 10 years ago or even 3 years ago is irrelevant, because the people in charge are completely different. You have to base it on their precedent, ie Padres or Red Sox.

        • Theboardrider

          Red Sox had a lot of home grown talent, particularly in 2007. But he did augment the roster with key moves. Even Dice-K, while ending up bad, made a huge difference in that 2007 championship.

        • paulcatanese

          Yeah, they are different. The major league team is in a constant state of flux, players in and out, up and down, signed released, want to win now in one way , and be patient in another, they are re-building.
          They sign guys just after serious surgery, say they will be good someday, sign players who have been released, or cannot make the team they were on.
          And be patient fans, who we sign today will someday come up and we will have a world series. What they don’t say is how many prospects that are signed actually make it to the majors and become an impact.
          Off the top of my head I would say maybe 1 out of every 75-100 make it .
          And losing over 100 games last year and probably this year, if its only 5 games less that’s an improvement right?
          5 game improvement every year, that’s progress right.
          In five more years they would be at the 80 loss mark so look for something after that,
          like 2018 or 2019.
          Yes they are different than the previous regime, just be patient.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I hope you are right. And I mean to tell you: I WANT BRYANT. He’s the next Bob Horner.

          But the Cubs have had trouble bring kids along to the ML. Yeah, Darwin Barney….Starlin, but hey, he’s ruined now….Brett Jackson….good looking kid. If only….

      • paulcatanese

        Ah Rip, now you said it. You are correct. There have been a number of players that held off because of who drafted them. One only has to look at the Cub system and cringe.

        The longevity of remaining a Cub is not very good, stability is not the major selling point. Even if a good year is under their belt, the Cubs LOVE the trade market.

        This would be one reason besides returning to school. Which I think would be the wisest choice, get my degree and even for a lesser amount next year, he has a degree.

  • triple

    Neil- I know you’ve posted the signing amounts of the 9 (out of top 10) that the Cubs have signed. Do you know where they stand? I imagine they are in the negative? But do you know how close to the 5% they are?

    I’m actually perplexed that Boras let Appel sign for less than slot money? That kind of sets the value of the picks underneath him, and Bryant has alot more at stake to lose, than to win in this deal. You’d think they find the middle ground and both sides could be plenty happy.

  • John_CC

    Isn’t Boras “advising” Appel also?

    • Neil

      Yes he is.

      • John_CC

        Interesting then that he signed Appel almost immediately. So he and the Astros had an agreement in place. In which case he also knew the Cubs were 99% on Bryant over Gray. So he signs Appel right off because he has no more leverage then tries to stick it to the Cubs by playing the leverage that he used last year to send Appel back to college and only earn him a little more in signing bonus monies but ultimately lose him money if you consider he missed a full pro season.

        It is really completely ridiculous the way this system works. Boras under-signs his #1 client and then threatens not to sign his #2 client if they won’t go over slot! Tell me that isn’t ridiculous!

        • daverj

          Didn’t Appel get almost double what the Pirates offered him last year?

          • Tony_Hall

            Not the same. The Pirates drafted him 8th and only had so much money to offer him. Bryant is drafted 2nd and the 1st round picks the last 2 years have not made any where near the slot level money.

            He will sign.

  • Suzy S

    The other thing that happens if Bryant doesn’t sign is the Cubs “lose his slot money”.
    That means certainly that the Cubs would be over the allowed pool for their top ten picks…and would trigger
    a penalty. If they are more then 5% over allowed slot pool….they will lose their first round pick for next year.

    While I believe Bryant will sign…imagine the mess if he doesn’t.

    • John_CC

      He’ll sign. It’s just big circus act at the moment.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Imagine the mess….who’s running this show, anyway? It can’t be Team Theo, because they don’t make any mistakes.

      • Neil

        Why don’t you wait to complain until they don’t sign him? And if they don’t, I will be right there with you.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I most assuredly am watching what happens. and I will wait. I want Bryant, and I thought it was unwise to sign players over slot down the line.

          And I’ll be glad to have you right there with me. I’d love the company.

  • Mark Bial

    The Cubs need a 3rd baseman badly. If this kid is smart, he will sign immediately. Negotiate for an instant opportunity, and if he can really play, the money will follow…that can be part of his contract(incentives).

  • BosephHeyden

    Here’s another reason Bryant should probably think twice about not signing this year and coming out next year: if he goes back to college and somehow improves on this year (or maintains a level of play that keeps him as the #2 guy available), he’s going to wind up an Astro or Marlin. Neither of those is a particularly attractive destination: all the complaints against the Cubs, these two teams are much worse.

  • woody34

    After Theo trades away the ML team this deadline, we turn into the worst team in the league. Playing our way into probably the #1 pick. That’s all the leverage the Cubs need.
    You tell the kid, you can sign for this amount this year, or for less money when we take you again next year, when you lose your leverage. This way you are a year ahead in your progression to be fast tracked to the ML team.
    Just sign the papers kid and become a hero in a place that hasn’t had one in over 100 years.

    • paulcatanese

      Not entirely fair. Their were many hero’s with the Cubs over the years, Santo, Banks ,Sandberg, Cavaretta, just to name a very few among the many that have played there.
      Now if you are talking about the Cubs as a team and a hero team then you are absolutely right, haven’t had one of those for a while.

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