Trevor Gretzky, son of The Great One, has picked the Cubs over San Diego State, that according to Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn.
“We heard he signed with the Cubs on Monday,” Gwynn told the Toronto Sun on Thursday.
The Cubs have yet to confirm the signing, which is sure to be for considerably more than slot money. MLB is often hesitant to improve such deals until just before the Aug. 15 deadline.
The largest bonus given to a seventh-round pick so far this year was $200,000 from the Mets to first baseman Cole Frenzel. The Cubs might be in that same neighborhood with Gretzky.
Of course, unlike a lot of draft picks, Trevor Gretzky doesn’t really need the money. As a first baseman at Oaks Christian in California, he wore the same number 99 his father did throughout his hockey career. Since finances weren’t an issue, many thought he would choose college over the pros.
“Our scouts conveyed to him this wasn’t a PR move,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry told the Chicago Tribune last month. “There can be a burden having a famous father but we won’t make him feel like he’s Wayne Gretzky’s son. He’s his own young man. We wanted Trevor. Our scouts had him going a few rounds higher.”
At 6-foot-4, Trevor Gretzky gets pretty good reviews for his power potential, but he’s even more of a project than most high schoolers. He probably won’t be assigned to a full-season league until 2013.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.