Cashner to Sign with Cubs

Cashner will sign (MICHAEL CLEMENTS)

Andrew Cashner, the Chicago Cubs' first-round pick in the 2008 draft, will officially sign with the organization later this week.

Cashner, 21, led Texas Christian University of Conference USA with nine victories and nine saves, and had a 2.32 ERA in 30 games spanning 54 1/3 innings in 2008. He also led the team with 80 strikeouts and walked 27 batters.

Recently, the right-hander was named second-team All-American by Baseball America. The Cubs had drafted Cashner once before – in the 29th round in 2007.

"It's good to join a first-place club," Cashner told InsideTheIvy.com Sunday. "The Chicago fans are always great, win or lose. I'm excited to start my pro career."

The plan is for Cashner to arrive in Chicago and take physicals Wednesday, he said. He is scheduled to work out with the major league club and throw a bullpen session Thursday at Wrigley Field. Cashner will also join Len Kasper and Bob Brenly on a Cubs television broadcast at some point in the coming week, he said.

What level Cashner will officially begin his pro career is not yet known, but it will likely be short-season Class Low-A Boise following a stint in the Arizona Rookie League.

As part of his contract with Chicago, Cashner will receive a signing bonus of $1.54 million. He'll also receive $75,000 that will go toward finishing school, plus bonuses that will coincide with promotions. Moreover, Cashner will receive an invitation to big league spring training in 2009.

Cashner spent the past season at TCU in relief, but the Cubs said they were going to let the Montgomery, Texas, native chart his own course as a starter or reliever.

Cashner has indicated that he prefers to pitch in relief – and close games.

"I'd love to move up as a closer because I'd move a lot faster," he said.

Cubs Ink Second-Round Pick Shafer

The Cubs have also come to terms with right-hander Aaron Shafer, their second-round selection (65th overall) from Wichita State University.

Shafer, 21, logged 110 1/3 innings for the Shockers this past season and finished 11-4 with a team-high 110 strikeouts and a 3.26 ERA. He walked 28 batters.

"I'm going to sign (Monday)," Shafer told InsideTheIvy.com.

As part of his contract, Shafer will receive a signing bonus of $625,000.

With the additions of Cashner and Shafer, the Cubs have now signed all but one (RHP Alex Wilson, a 10th-round selection from Texas A&M) of their first 27 overall draft picks. The club recently came to terms with RHP David Cales of St. Xavier University in Chicago, and SS Logan Watkins of Goddard (Kan.) High School. Watkins and Cales were drafted in the 21st and 24th rounds, respectively.

"We've pretty much signed everyone we wanted to," Chicago Scouting Director Tim Wilken said.

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