It had already been announced that the Cubs were going to have the 27th and 30th picks in the upcoming 2017 First-Year Player Draft, but now we know how much pool money the Cubs will have to sign their picks. The Cubs will have a signing bonus pool of $7,099,300. That is the 17th-highest bonus pool in the upcoming draft.
That Cubs draft bonus pool is way up from last season’s paltry $2,245,100, which is to be expected considering that the Cubs had forfeited their first- and second-round draft picks last season to sign Jason Heyward and John Lackey. It is close to the bonus pool of $7,236,100 that the Cubs had in 2015 when they chose Ian Happ with the ninth overall pick in the draft. The Cubs had $8,352,200 in the pool in 2014 when they chose Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick in the draft.
The bonus slots have been changed somewhat in the new collective-bargaining agreement, with teams picking at the top not getting nearly as much money and the ones near the bottom getting a little more. This is designed so that teams at the top of the draft will be more limited in their ability to spread to savings from a top-five pick to give large over-slot bonuses to players taken in the later rounds. So it’s a good year for the Cubs to be picking at the bottom of the first round. Also, in past draft pools, teams were allowed to go up to 5 percent over slot without forfeiting a draft pick, although they did have to pay a penalty on the overages. I have not read anywhere that that has changed.
All bonuses given to the players in the first ten rounds of the draft count against the cap. Additionally, all bonus money given to players drafted in the 11th through 40th rounds in excess of $125,000 count against the cap. That number is up from $100,000 in the previous CBA.
So if you want the short version, the Cubs are going to have a lot more money in 2017 to sign their draft picks, although they still will need to get creative since their first two picks come at the end of the first round. Luckily, they have the bonus pool money to do that.