Cubs sign first-round pick Schwarber


PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs have signed first-round pick Kyle Schwarber to a deal which a source says includes a bonus of $3.125 million, which is $1,496,200 under slot for the No. 4 pick in the draft.

Schwarber, 22, hit .358 with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs his final year at Indiana before the Cubs selected him Thursday in the amateur draft. He is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench award given to the top catcher in college, although he might not play that position in the pros.

Saving money on Schwarber will allow the Cubs to pay later-round picks more as they try to entice some to sign instead of go to college. A reported deal with catcher Mark Zagunis, their third-round pick, saved the Cubs $99,900 already.

The savings on early-round picks was intimated by scouting director Jason McLeod last weekend during the draft.

"We expect this to be a very quick process and get him out and playing in the organization and spend some money elsewhere," McLeod said.

Schwarber will start his professional career with the Cubs' short season Class-A team in Boise, Idaho. He will be available to play in Boise's season opener on Friday.