Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs top officials meet with Oklahoma's Gray

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With barely two weeks left before the Cubs make what could be the defining draft pick of this second-year regime, top front office officials are gathering the final - and finest details - on the few players they're considering for the No. 2 overall selection on June 6.

Team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, top scouting/player development executive Jason McLeod and amateur scouting director Jaron Madison are in Oklahoma City today to meet with Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray - one of the top two pitchers in the draft.

The Big-12 tournament opens in Oklahoma City Thursday.

The 6-4, 239-pound Gray is the more powerful of the draft's top pair of pitchers, but Stanford right-hander Mark Appel - a senior who refused to sign after being drafted eighth overall a year ago - is considered the more refined pitcher.

Barring unforeseen issues arising with either pitcher in the next two weeks, the Cubs are expected to take whichever pitcher the Houston Astros do not take with the No. 1 overall pick.

Given the dearth of potential impact pitchers in the Cubs' system and the diminishing means of acquiring free agent talent in the current baseball economy, this Cubs' pick could have a disproportionate impact on the team's rebuilding effort.

Appel, who's represented by Scott Boras, rejected a $3.8 million offer by the Pittsburgh Pirates last year after falling to eighth following several draft projections that had him going No. 1 overall.

The Cubs have $10.56 allotted by MLB for draft bonuses to their top 10 picks, with more than half of that slotted for their top pick.

Teams can exceed their overall "budget" by 5 percent before losing future draft picks as penalties.

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I would be totally stunned if we did not take one of the top two pitchers. I think the world would but since whoever it is it is going to cost a lot of dollars. Especially if we get Scott Boras's pitcher. Mr. Ricketts may not be in the big spending mood and could go with a lower and less expensive player. That would break my spirit and end my hopes for the Cubs while he is the owner. This is so absurd I should not even post it but strange things are happening.

How the Cubs are spending has very little to do with Ricketts being a tight wad.

They are rebuilding, are putting a ton of money into the park, and there hasn't been a need to spend big yet.

Money won't be an issue moving forward. People act like Ricketts is some tight wad who wants to cut payroll in half every year. Not true.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on May 22, 2013 1:14 PM.

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