Chicago Cubs Fined $500k for Drafting Every Player in the World
August 6, 2008
(Chicago, IL) – A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that the Chicago Cubs were being fined some $500k for violations stemming from the June Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. And although rumors circulated as to just what the violations were, the official reason was not released until this week.
During the first round of the draft when it came time to pick, the Cubs – known for unusual draft day selections – offered up a surprising and apparently inappropriate selection: the Cubs overselected players in the draft by taking, well, all of them.
“When it came time for our pick, we looked at our draft board, and we just couldn’t believe how much talent was left on there,” Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken explained. “Sure, Andrew Cashner was the top on our board, but we thought there were so many good players left, that it would be our best bet to just go ahead and take all of them.”
“Just moments before our pick got up to the podium, [Cubs GM] Jim Hendry realized that there were a bunch of great players of all ages around the world that we had omitted from our board. We knew then that the right strategy was to take them all, too.”
“And at that point, it didn’t make much sense for us to take all the remaining players unless we were going to take all of the guys who had been selected before our pick, so made sure to select them, too. I guess, in the end, what we did was wrong by some minor technicality.”
But considering the draft was crawling with MLB officials, how did such a selection even get made in the first place? After all, MLB is known for its excellent management and wise decisions. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig clarified.
“Of course we were taken aback when we heard the Cubs selection – ‘With the X overall pick, the Chicago Cubs select all of the remaining players in the draft, and the players already selected.’ We were so shocked we didn’t know what to do. It was a live draft, afterall. So we let the pick stand for the time being.”
Considering other Chicago professional team drafting practices, the selection was not that unusual, and baseball’s punishment seems overly harsh. The Cubs say they expect to negotiate the fine down from $500k to somewhere in the $3 to 4 range.