6/25 Cubs sign Zagunis

The Cubs have signed third-round selection Mark Zagunis, a catcher out of Virginia Tech University. The Cubs now have signed 21 of their first 22 picks, as well as 25 selections overall from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The only player whom the Cubs picked in the first 10 rounds of the Draft who has not signed is Georgia high school pitcher Dylan Cease, who was selected in the sixth round.

Zagunis, 21, batted .330 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 39 RBIs in 53 games for Virginia Tech in his junior season this year. He walked 32 times, and compiled a .426 on-base percentage. Zagunis also stole 16 bases. He was named All-ACC Second Team for the second time in his career, and was a 2014 Johnny Bench Award semifinalist.

Zagunis posted a .338 batting average in three seasons at Virginia Tech. With 52 career stolen bases, he is the second Hokie to record at least 50 stolen bases since the school joined the ACC.


Doug – a follow-up to our earlier discussion. “At one point, Ricketts displayed a graphic of overlapping bell curves that showed the peak years for players is 29 to 30 years old. He said a key strategy is signing players into long-term deal earlier in their career before they can become free agents. ‘The idea is to maximize the value you get out of players in the first six years, before they become free agents,’ he said.”

That quote appears to be from the Tribune article on Ricketts talking about the Wrigley renovation and other topics. I went ahead and read the article just now. He’s not specifically talking about Samardzija, just in general terms. And I agree, in general that’s when players tend to peak and signing long term, big buck contracts as a player is peaking doesn’t make much sense. However, my whole point from the other day is you cannot just simply look at age as the only determining factor. It’s not like a pitcher goes to bed the night before his 30th birthday throwing 95 MPH and pain free, and then wakes up on his 30th birthday and isn’t able to throw over 90 and has constant shoulder and elbow pain. You have to at least factor in the amount of work their arms have put in over their careers as well as previous injury history. My point yesterday was, Samardzija has no previous injury history and has put in significantly less work than most other 29-year old pitchers have.
Signing any pitcher to a multi-year big bucks deal is a risk, but the whole point I was trying to make is that due to his unique circumstance of not focusing entirely on baseball during his high school and college years, not becoming a regular Major Leaguer until the age of 26, not becoming a full-time starter until age 27, and not having an added workload of multiple post-season appearances, makes Samardzija less of a risk to hand a multi-year big bucks deal than most available free agent pitchers. And I still stand by my position that the Cubs can either extend him or trade him and be able to explain why they did what they did to my satisfaction.

I get your point. And I don’t necessary think you are wrong. I think there is validity to it. I just like discussing it!

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