*1B Trevor Gretzky, son of the Great One, has signed with the Chicago Cubs.
By Bob Elliott
Ride the buses on the lower rungs of the Chicago Cubs minor-league system or play at scenic San Diego State University?
That was the choice for first baseman Trevor Gretzky, selected in the seventh round of the June baseball draft by the Cubs.
“We heard he signed with the Cubs on Monday,” San Diego State Aztecs coach and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn said Thursday morning.
The fact the Cubs have not released the signing amount could mean Gretzky received more than the assigned slot bonus money.
Major League Baseball likes to hold back announcements of the above slot signs so it will not affect the market place -- an example, the Jays signing of fifth-rounder Dickie Joe Thon a year ago for $1.5 million. Thon and the Jays agreed on a contract but the deal was not announced until after the Aug. 15 deadline.
The highest bonus for a seventh rounder handed out this year was the $200,000 the New York Mets gave Arizona first baseman Cole Frenzel. The other signed players received anywhere from $35,000 to $130,000. Some in the industry say the bonus could be as high as $500,000.
“I don’t think money was a factor,” Gwynn said. “Everyone has a dream to play pro ball.”
Gwynn said he recalled something Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said in an earlier meeting which should have tipped the coach off as to which way Gretzky’s son was leaning.
“Wayne mentioned how he started his pro career as a 17-year-old, how if you work hard enough you can make it,” Gwynn said. “The father is a nice guy. He totally gets it, understands the pro game. And the son is very mature.”