Cubs IFA and Draft signings update

Today marks the first day of the 2018-19 international signing period and it also marks the beginning of the end for the 2018 draft signings, as the deadline to sign most players comes this Friday.

IFA Signings

I gave a preview of the Cubs potential targets last week and the team did indeed sign all four players mentioned as soon as the signing period opened today:

RHP Richard Gallardo - Venezuela, BA: 6th, MLB: 5th

Bonus: $1,000,000

OF Jose Lopez - Dominican Republic, BA: 27th, MLB: 16th

Bonus: $1,500,000

SS Rafael Morel - Dominican Republic, BA: 46th (Brother of Christopher Morel) 

Bonus: $850,000

LHP Joel Machado - Venezuela, BA: 47th, MLB: 28th

Bonus: $850,000

They also announced the signing of a 5th player:

OF Yohendrick Pinango - Venezuela 

Bonus: $400,000

The Cubs current IFA spending cap is $4,983,500. With today's signings they have already used all but about $384K. This means the remainder of their signings will be modest (anything over $10K counts against cap) or the team will need to acquire additional cap space from other teams, which they can do in increments of $250K.

Draft Signings


With five days remaining until the signing deadline, the only unsigned top pick is 2B Andy Weber (5th Rd). It had been oddly quiet on that front throughout the past few weeks, but we finally received an update over he weekend that Weber is expected to sign and is now in Mesa.

Weber's signing bonus will determine exactly how much the club has remaining to offer 28th Round pick Mitchell Parker. The prep lefty out of New Mexico is the Cubs final overslot target remaining unsigned from the draft. Any amount Parker receives over $125K will count against the remaining $484K the Cubs have in their bonus pool pool to sign both him and Weber. They already went above the $125K allowed on 11th rounder RHP Riley Thompson and 20th round LHP Chris Allen.

Parker is the #2 prep player out of New Mexico according to Baseball America and features a fastball that has topped out at 92, along with feel for a 12-to-6 curve and a developing changeup. He gained a lot of attention after he struck out 15 batters at the Perfect Game WWBA Championship in Florida last year.

Thompson is a hard thrower from Louisville that returned from TJS with his mid-to-upper-90s heat and plus breaking ball intact, but lack of command and consistency prevented him from producing at the level hoped from him this season. Still, the stuff is considered 1st round caliber, and the Cubs were able to convince him to go pro with a $200K bonus rather than him trying to improve his draft stock by returning to the collegiate level to pitch as a senior.

Chris Allen is another tall lefty like Parker, but rather than being a top prep, he was actually one of the top JUCO players in California, compiling a 13-0 with a 1.34 ERA, as he allowed just 67 hits (no HR) and 23/102 BB/K in 100.2 IP. He is considered a late bloomer that was scheduled to transfer to the University of Hawaii had the Cubs not convinced him to sign.


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  • So how does this work from a cap spread perspective? Can you agree to pay a prospect say $400,000 against the IFA pool but then year 2 once they are in the system give them $1mil to compensate so it does not hurt your pool?

  • In reply to Gator:

    I would guess that is not allowed and I would doubt any prospect would agree to that. They want their signing bonus up front.

  • In reply to Gator:

    That is not allowed. Minor League salaries are standard for all players and do not change until the player has reached 6-year Minor League Free Agency or the player reaches the Majors and receives arbitration or signs a long term MLB extension.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Here is AZ Phil's breakdown of how IFA works and the restrictions, etc

  • Thank you very much for this information. Great news on signing Weber. I also love the IFAs they signed. The top rated RH SP and the top LH SP per MLB rankings. This says the team got good pitching talent this year. The only problem is it will take a good amount of time to develop. This FO is very good, maybe the best at acquiring top talent.

  • In reply to John57:

    For what it is worth, both Gallardo and Machado are considered polished for their age and are the high risk, boom/bust types, so they could potentially move a little faster than a typical IFA pitcher, but the Cubs tend to be very careful with teenage arms, so even if everything goes right in their development the earliest I think we would see either is 4 seasons from now. Cubs are willing to be more aggressive with position players, as we have seen with guys like Gleyber Torres and Aramis Ademan who reached High-A while still in their teens.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    should say they are NOT the high risk types.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I thought "polished" and high risk, boom/bust types are usually contradictory. Now I see it was a typo.

  • Awesome update. Thanks!

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    They did really well today. I'll be Theo was like a racehorse just before the gates open, having been on the sideline for the past 2 years. Both position players have plus speed too and I love that, the pitchers have good curve balls and changeups. Thanks for the update Michael.

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    According to Arizona Phil the Cubs also signed Caleb Knight, a catcher from U of Virginia and a ABCA Rawlings GG and threw out 17-23 runners, a 76% rate while a Connors St in 2016. Assigned to AZL Cubs #1.

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    just had a comment eaten. thanks.

  • Great article and coverage Michael glad to see we were able to sign our guys that were projected to us but just curious why did Lopez get a bigger signing bonus than gallardo when gallardo is supposedly the higher regarded player? Just wondering I know those lists are only guidelines but surprised at how little we got gallardo for

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I know your preview was great and indicated that lopez would get the biggest bonus but do you have any insight into why that is?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    More competition for position players maybe, given they have less risk of injury, which drives up the price?

    Difficult to judge at this point. IFA rules are slightly different now with the hard cap and we don't have a history of how teams will allocate resources,etc.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That makes sense just from my recent memory it seems like a lot of the best IFA signings and prospects have been from the positional player side and not the pitching side. I get that we need pitching but I hope that we're getting who we believe are some of the elite players in this class and not just signing for need because these IFA guys are already boom or bust enough as is. Exciting that we're finally able to add some potential impact guys again this signing period though and great to see us land the guys that we targeted. Great coverage too btw I think there weren't many surprises for the cubs den community this signing period because you already told us who we were getting.

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    Just found you site and forum. Pretty cool!

    I have to ask, who do you have as the #1 prospect in New Mexico over Mitchell Parker and who’s ranking? Pretty small state and I know them all. Lol!


  • In reply to Tom Parker:

    Hey Tom, if you are Mitchell's dad, here's hoping things work out for your son to sign with the Cubs organization!

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    Sorry, correction. I see it’s BA overall ranking which includes the NM State pitcher.

  • In reply to Tom Parker:

    Yeah, I just went back and looked, and their top guy was a collegiate player. Parker was the top prep in the state according to them.

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    after yesterday, a big Yes You May!

  • Cubs officially sign 5th round pick Andy Weber.

  • Looks like Mitchell Parker may be going the JUCO route with San Jac.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Hmmm. My twins played in the Juco WS a few years back and San Jac was one of the teams there. Drank some beers with a couple their fans in a great brew pub in Grand Junction.

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