Cubs Get Commitment From Matt Szczur

THURSDAY: The Cubs announced that they have reached an agreement with Szczur. He will fully commit to baseball and set his pro football career aside. "We look forward to supporting and fostering [Szczur's] continued development as a baseball player,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said.

TUESDAY: Outfielder Matt Szczur has verbally agreed to a deal worth $1.5MM with the Cubs, tweets Jim Callis of Baseball America. Tony Pauline first reported the deal (on Twitter).

Szczur, 21, was the Cubs' fifth round pick in the 2010 draft. He agreed to a $100K signing bonus at the time and hit .347/.414/.465 in 116 A-ball plate appearances after signing. Szczur then returned to Villanova for his senior football season, and this new contract buys him away from a potential NFL career.

The original contract called for a $500K bonus if Szczur committed to the Cubs in writing before the NFL combine in February, but it's unclear if that money is still in play. Baseball America recently ranked Szczur as Chicago's seventh best prospect, though that was before the Matt Garza trade thinned their system.


74 Responses to Cubs Get Commitment From Matt Szczur Leave a Reply

  1. baseball52 4 years ago

    Thank Jesus!

  2. AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs 4 years ago

    Szczczczczczczur

  3. It’s pronounced “Caesar,” as in Julius, if anyone was wondering.

    • Oh, didn’t see this when I made my last post asking.

      What nationality is it?

      • DunkinDonuts 4 years ago

        On jest Polski, oczywiscie.

        • Tko11 4 years ago

          Naprawde?

        • crunchy1 4 years ago

          If he can make it, he’d have a huge following here in Chicago. Very large Polish population on the NW side of the city — not too far from the park.

    • Actually, I’m pretty sure the Cubs just signed a misspelling of Max Scherzer.

  4. Karkat 4 years ago

    This guy needs to make it to the majors *pronto* so I can hear Tim McCarver attempt to say “Szczur.”

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      I’d prefer he get fired, he’s an awful sportscaster.

      • Karkat 4 years ago

        Well sure, but since he’s here we might as well enjoy how terrible he is. He should really stick to singing selections from the American Songbook.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Compared to some others like Bob Prince, Joe Morgan, Dewayne Staats to name a few.. He is outstanding. Though he can get on nerves sometimes with his tirades.

  5. this kid isnt just a great athlete but a great person. he donated his bone morrow and didnt play in a couple of baseball games. he derserves everything he gets.

    • NorthSideIrish 4 years ago

      He donated marrow to a one year old girl with leukemia who he had never met before. The surgery caused him to miss over a month of the baseball season.

      • firealyellon 4 years ago

        harvesting marrow is quite lucrative; the Ricketts are geniuses.

  6. This guy will be on the fast track to the Majors with the cubs. He simply oozes talent! The North Side has a major prospect to follow here! Great News for cubs fans!

  7. Exszczeptional news.

  8. Pronunciation please.

  9. Is this one of those guys that is a first/second round guy who fell to the 5th round due to football status? if so, Cubs got a steal here.

    • crunchy1 4 years ago

      Here’s a report Aaron Fitt from Baseball America…

      “The thing that jumps out at you is his athleticism,” Fitt said. “He’s a freak athlete. He’s just lightning fast. He’s still learning how to play the outfield, so he is a little raw in that respect, but the more he concentrates on baseball the better he is going to get. The only reason he is not a first-round pick is because he’s got rough edges to polish up.”

      In case you’re wondering, he probably would have been a 3rd or 4th round pick in football as a WR.

      • Well that’s good news for the Cubs then. Also a very smart move for him, as baseball has a much better CBA from player’s perspectives (guaranteed salaries, also less injury risk), and hopefully he doesn’t follow the career path of the last WR-turned Cubs prospect.

        • crunchy1 4 years ago

          Lol…I hope not. Another WR turned baseball prospect with a hard to spell name. Szczur is considered to have more natural baseball skills than Smardzija though. We’ll see. He’s a long way from the majors right now.

          Callis of BA just had a nice write up on Szczur and said he would have easily been a first round pick.

    • coachofall 4 years ago

      Just someones opinion but Keith Law just said in his weekly chat that he projects as a 4th or 5th OF type based on multiple scouts analysis’

      • crunchy1 4 years ago

        He’s probably going to be the type of guy who brings wide ranges of opinions, partly because there’s been limited opportunity to see him play. As a Cub fan who’d like to see us with a bit more speed, I’m hoping the more optimistic reports are correct!

  10. crunchy1 4 years ago

    Nice. Cubs couldn’t afford to lose Szczur after trading away Lee. He’s probably our only legitimate leadoff prospect right now. Can’t wait to see what this kid can do now that he’s going to focus strictly on baseball.

    • firealyellon 4 years ago

      I didn’t know ‘leadoff’ was a baseball position.

      • crunchy1 4 years ago

        I didn’t think this was too hard to understand, but I’ll explain it to you. First of all, I said leadoff PROSPECT. Not leadoff position. The ability to leadoff was Lee’s greatest value to the Cubs as a prospect. It’s not his ability to play SS, since we have a 21 year old starting in the majors already. It’s not even as our best hitting middle infield prospect since we have other prospects who hit better than he does. His value on offense was speed and the ability to get on base, two things that Szczur is expected to contribute.

    • chance18 4 years ago

      No love for Jackson? I know he might outgrow the leadoff spot and be a middle of the order guy, but he has the speed an on base skills to be our leadoff guy by 2012.

      • crunchy1 4 years ago

        Jackson’s on-base skills are tremendous. I do think he’ll outgrow leadoff and have enough power to have more value in the middle of the lineup. If he doesn’t he’d be a great option to have at the top of the order — but I’d be a little disappointed if he didn’t develop 20-25 home run power.

    • chance18 4 years ago

      No love for Jackson? I know he might outgrow the leadoff spot and be a middle of the order guy, but he has the speed an on base skills to be our leadoff guy by 2012.

    • chance18 4 years ago

      No love for Jackson? I know he might outgrow the leadoff spot and be a middle of the order guy, but he has the speed an on base skills to be our leadoff guy by 2012.

    • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

      What about Brett Jackson?

      • ellisburks 4 years ago

        Won’t somebody PLEASE think about Brett Jackson??

  11. Jntg4 4 years ago

    Great, now the Cubs have Colvin, Jackson, and Szczur on the horizon (or in Colvin’s case, in the Majors). Only problem is that Soriano is a roadblock until 2014.

    • crunchy1 4 years ago

      I think by the time Szczur is ready, Soriano will be gone. Could be an OF of Colvin in LF, Szczur in CF, and Jackson in RF. That’s a pretty athletic trio.

      • ubercubsfan 4 years ago

        Unfortunately, I believe the DH will finally hit the NL after the 2012 when the MLBPA has to renegotiate with owners. Real baseball will be over and replaced with the handicapped version. :(

        • firealyellon 4 years ago

          the DH gives AL teams a huge advantage in interleague play; you should be happy about this.

          • ubercubsfan 4 years ago

            Why do you want Al Yellon fired? lol

        • Gumby65 4 years ago

          Introducing the DH fulltime in the NL during the age of the internet? Not likely.

      • Jntg4 4 years ago

        Ya, and Golden could be a factor too, in which case the DH would be good to have.

        • crunchy1 4 years ago

          Almost forgot about Golden — another great athlete. Hopefully they all pan out.

          • chance18 4 years ago

            And Ha is a another guy who could be in the OF mix with a solid 2011 at Daytona.

      • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

        I don’t think 4 more years of Soriano in left field is going to happen.
        At some point, probably in 2013, the Cubs are going to have to suck it up, release Soriano, and eat that last 2 years of the contract.
        Paying him 18 mill per, over the next 4 years is a disaster. But trotting him out there every day, blocking young talent you’re trying to develop makes it twice the disaster.

        • jb226 4 years ago

          I doubt he will be released, barring some horrendous turn for the worse.

          Soriano won’t be worth his contract in those years; that was true the day he signed it, and has only gotten more true as he has chronically failed to live up to expectations even in the early years. This is a man who stole 41 bases the year before he came to Chicago, and 53 in the four years since then.

          But that ship has sailed. We’re paying him, whether he’s playing for us or we release him.

          What you’re really talking about, then, is a performance that is so bad that it would be worthwhile to pay him NOT to play for you, pay a prospect to pay for you, and start his arbitration clock to do it. That would be quite the terrible performance indeed to justify all of that. Presumably that prospect isn’t particularly proven in the major leagues if you need to entertain eating $18MM for him to have a place to play. I just don’t see it happening, as I said, unless Soriano’s performance just falls off a cliff.

          That said, however, I think that if his performance does NOT fall off a cliff in those later years, we might be able to find a taker for him via trade — at least assuming he’s willing to waive the NTC. Believe it or not, Soriano has outplayed his contract so far (according to Fangraphs’ value + Cot’s for pay), mostly due to a huge surplus in his first year. If he declines slightly each year from last year’s performance, I don’t think it would be unrealistic to find a team willing to pay about half of the salary to take him.

    • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

      Don’t discount Reggie Golden.

  12. Wrek305 4 years ago

    Is it too much to ask who he is? and will be on the 25 man roster.. they now have 7 OFers Hendry is awful why is he signing and trading for more OFers Reed Johnson is an awesome signing but getting two OFers in two seperate trades and now signing another outfilelder makes no sense.. it like Hendry has a OF fetish like he had a 2nd baseman fetish a few years back they literally had 7 player on the 25 man roster that orignally played 2nd

    • crunchy1 4 years ago

      He’s going to be in A ball — no higher than low class A Peoria and he will not be on the 25 man roster or even the 40 man roster for now. This guy is still a few years away. Could be our leadoff man of the future.

    • chance18 4 years ago

      It’s called depth and competition.

      • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

        He’s called a buffoon.

        • jb226 4 years ago

          Glad I’m not the only one who has noticed. Here’s hoping that Disqus adds the ability to block seeing posts from certain users in the near future.

  13. boblongsports 4 years ago

    Former Villanova Wildcat Football and Baseball great, glad to have him on the squad. Wrigley Field is the new Szczur’s Palace!!! Go Cubbies!!

  14. he is actually an AMAZING football player too. he plays running back and WR. hes good at whatever he does.

  15. Wrek305 4 years ago

    too bad saramarjrda didn’t stick with football he’s horrible at pitching

  16. chance18 4 years ago

    And Ha is a another guy who could be in the OF mix with a solid 2011 at Daytona.

  17. bobbybaseball 4 years ago

    How did that whole giving up football thing work out for Jeff Samardzija?

    • jb226 4 years ago

      Well, he signed a $10MM major-league deal so… not too bad.

      • crunchy1 4 years ago

        All that without getting chased by 260 lb linebackers who run 4.5 40s. $10M and he’ll eventually retire with his head and body in tact. That’s a slicker move than any he ever showed on the field at Notre Dame.

  18. goner 4 years ago

    Now that Szczur is a millionaire, hopefully he can buy a vowel.

  19. jpkinney7 4 years ago

    sippin sczcurp

  20. Cubs should trade Samardzija to the Bears for someone unimportant like Devin Armoushodu

  21. jarg8 4 years ago

    That’s pretty cool I was in the same high school league as both him and Mike Trout.

  22. gocubsgo2011 4 years ago

    Harry: “You know, Steve, ‘Szczur’ spelled backwards is…”

  23. crunchy1 4 years ago

    It depends on what you mean by “true” success. The Cubs have had some recent solid play from Ryan Theriot, Geovanny Soto, Starlin Castro, and Tyler Colvin. If you’re talking about someone with a longer track record, then you may as well ask this same question for the next decade since the Cubs have only recently started to re-focus on position players.

    Once McPhail was hired, he immediately installed his philosophy of stockpiling arms with the reasoning that it was easier to sign position players and you could always trade surplus good young arms for position players. The philosophy was still somewhat in place during Hendry’s early tenure,. Considering the Cubs had played in the postseason 4 times between 1998-2008, after not making an appearance since 1945, it’s hard to argue that the plan wasn’t pretty successful overall.

    You also build your farm to make trades and acquire players. The Cubs have used their farm to acquire two players, Ramirez and Lee, who became fixtures for about a decade. Is that less important than if the Cubs would have called farm players directly from AAA who became long term impact starters? My opinion is that it doesn’t make much difference at all.

    So I guess it depends on what you mean by successful. The Cubs have had some success acquiring position players through their farm and by making it to the postseason. They’ve also had some recent success with position players the past few years, just dealt surplus position prospects for a top of the rotation pitcher, and unlike recent history, they have some legitimate position prospects on the horizon. It may not be as tangible as developing a Mark Grace or Rafael Palmeiro, but the farm hasn’t been a complete failure since then either.

  24. Retnan 4 years ago

    “Considering the Cubs had played in the postseason 4 times between 1998-2008, after not making an appearance since 1945″

    Wrong. Cubs won the old NL East in 1984 and 1989. They lost to the Padres and Giants respectively in each NLCS.

  25. retirenutting 4 years ago

    Also wrong in that you refer to the Cubs using their farm system to acquire TWO players – Lee and RAMIREZ. The cost to acquire Aramis Ramirez …Bobby Hill, Matt Bruback, and Jose Hernandez. Which of those all-stars had anything to do with a farm system ever?

  26. crunchy1 4 years ago

    My bad on the oversight, I am well aware of those two titles (as most every Cub fan on the planet is) — but it’s irrelevant detail in that it doesn’t change the main point, which is that the Cubs have been most successful in the past 10-12 years than they have at any point in recent history — and they used the farm system to get some of those pieces, even if the prospects they kept didn’t amount to much.

  27. BlueCatuli 4 years ago

    I know a guy who played for the Cardinals with him. He said McCarver is the biggest jerk he’s ever met.

  28. crunchy1 4 years ago

    Are you serious? Or are you trying to make a joke? I can’t quite tell. Bobby Hill and Matt Bruback came directly from the Cubs farm system.

  29. retirenutting 4 years ago

    I’ll try to make my point more clearly – ‘farm system’ connotes ‘prospects’, right? When were Bobby Hill or Matt Bruback ever legitimate prospects? If your farm system’s health hinges upon those two blue-chippers then you’re in trouble.

    The point is…the Cubs didn’t amass some impressive wealth of prospects which they used to acquire Ramirez. It was more the Pirate’s FO’s ineptitude more than any Cubs prospects that allowed Chicago ‘to acquire a player who became a fixture for about a decade’. Don’t give the Cubs farm system more credit than it deserves.

  30. crunchy1 4 years ago

    No, a farm system is a farm system. You can quibble about semantics but even in that case your argument is absurd. Bobby Hill was a prospect, a top 10 prospect, in fact… he was the 48th ranked prospect in baseball in 2002 per Baseball America. Bruback was also considered a prospect at one point (#18 in the Cubs system at the time of the trade). Whether you consider them “blue-chippers” is irrelevant. And that they didn’t pan out as major leaguers doesn’t mean they were never prospects to begin with. What kind of logic is that?

    Regardless of all that… Who cares? If they used the guys to acquire a 3rd basemen, middle of the order hitter for the better part of a decade, then that farm system produced something of value for the Cubs. What you think of the Pirates management has no bearing on the bottom line result. The Cubs used prospects from their system to acquire Ramirez. Period. To argue that is nonsensical.

  31. Crunchy wins

  32. retirenutting 4 years ago

    “Of the $20.4 million distribution, $9.604 million went to Nutting’s family to pay two years of interest on a 2003 convertible note. The loan — the Pirates declined to reveal the amount — from the Nuttings enabled the Pirates to make payroll and comply with MLB’s allowable debt-to-equity ratio.

    In 2003, the Pirates were forced to slash payroll by trading third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Kenny Lofton to the Chicago Cubs in a lopsided deal. Coonelly, who was hired in 2007, referred to the period as “very dark days.”

    Read more: Pirates’ finances show losses kept to the field – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review link to pittsburghlive.com

    If you still need more info I can dig up more links but the fact is MLB wanted Pittsburgh’s debt-to-income ratio improved. The edict from the league led to the Ramirez trade … it was pretty clear that the Pirates weren’t dealing from a position of strength. They traded Ramirez + Kenny Lofton for two guys who never amounted to anything. Sure, Bobby Hill was a prospect …a top 10 prospect in a poor farm system… but to say Bruback was is a joke. He was a relief prospect … nothing of value.

    My point is and has been that the Cubs bountiful farm system is less to credit for the Ramirez trade than the Pirates’ FO ineptitude.

  33. crunchy1 4 years ago

    You’re the one adding the word “bountiful” to try and re-frame. I’m just saying the farm system produced by enabling the Cubs to get impact players. And if you can’t see that then you’re simply being willful.

    And Bobby Hill ranked #48 overall in baseball. That ranking has nothing to do with the strength of the Cubs farm system, that perception of Hill as a prospect stands on it’s own — not that it has anything to do with what I’m talking about anyway.

    I also think it’s hilarious that you said it’s a joke to call Bruback a prospect and then called him a “relief prospect” in the very next sentence. Maybe relief pitching doesn’t count in baseball?

    Anyway…if you want me to say the Pirates front office was bad, then I’ll say the Priates front office was bad, if it makes you happy. But it changes nothing about my main point, which I really have no desire to re-state for the umpteenth time. I’d rather bang my head against a wall at this point.

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