Cubs sign No. 2 draft pick Kris Bryant to $6.7M bonus
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com July 10, 2013 4:18PM
Updated: July 10, 2013 10:49PM
A club-imposed deadline and the largest bonus — $6.71 million — of this year’s draft led to the Cubs getting a deal done with No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant two days before Friday’s MLB deadline for securing contracts with 2013 picks.
It’s the top amateur signing bonus in Cubs history, exceeding Cuban free agent Jorge Soler’s $6 million bonus last year. The Cubs’ biggest draft bonus had been Mark Prior’s $4 million in 2001.
Bryant, the top college slugger in the nation, is expected to start his professional career at Class A Boise, probably late this month or early August after a series of awards banquets followed by workouts in Mesa, Ariz. He hasn’t played in a game since June 2.
The Cubs expect to officially announce the deal Friday.
Bryant, a third baseman whose 31 home runs for the University of San Diego exceeded the totals of 223 NCAA Division I teams, was in town for a physical Wednesday.
That part of the process is why the Cubs imposed the early deadline. Under MLB draft rules, if Bryant had an agreement but failed a physical after baseball’s Friday deadline, the Cubs would be allowed to void the deal but not recoup the pick in next year’s draft.
Teams that fail to sign a first-round draft pick by MLB’s deadline are awarded a pick of similar value in the following year’s draft — in this case a No. 3 overall pick.
Bryant was the only one among the top three picks in this year’s draft to get the full MLB allotment for his draft position. No. 1 Mark Appel ($6.35 million from Houston) and No. 3 Jonathan Gray ($4.8 million from Colorado) signed “below-slot” deals.
Cubs officials would not comment on Bryant’s deal, but sources confirm the club still has enough money remaining in its overall MLB-assigned bonus pool to try to finalize a deal with 12th-round pick Trevor Clifton, a high school right-hander with a 97-mph fastball.
The day he was drafted, Bryant told Chicago media he had enough confidence to believe he could play in the big leagues now.
“I know they haven’t won a World Series in a while, so hopefully I can do all I can to help the Cubs win one,” he said. “I know it’s a great baseball city, a great team with a lot of history to it. I’m excited.”