No. 1 pick Mark Appel has already signed, as have 3-4-5 picks Jonathan Gray, Kohl Stewart, and Clint Frazier, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that No. 2 pick Kris Bryant is “nowhere close to a deal” with the Cubs.
July 15 is the deadline for the Cubs to sign the San Diego slugger who nearly lapped the field with an NCAA-leading 31 homers this season and Heyman says he’s asking for more than the slot recommended $6.7 million bonus.
Bryant is represented by agent Scott Boras, who not surprisingly thinks his client should receive the draft’s highest bonus. As a junior Bryant has the same leverage as Mark Appel last season in that he can go back to school for his senior year, but the big difference is that Appel fell to No. 8 last year and passed on a $3.8 million offer from the Pirates. Bryant doesn’t have nearly as much to gain and a lot more to lose.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.