PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs signed first-round pick Kyle Schwarber to a $3.125 million deal, which is under slot, and he will get started right away, joining Class A Boise for its opener Friday.
The Indiana catcher was selected fourth overall in the First-Year Player Draft last Thursday.
The Cubs had an allotment of $4.6 million for their first-round pick. By signing Schwarber below slot, the Cubs were expected to use the extra money on some of the pitchers they selected in the Draft, such as high schoolers Carson Sands, Justin Steele and Dylan Cease, who were picked in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria was happy to hear that Schwarber was beginning his pro career quickly.
"That just goes to show you this guy wants to get out there and play," Renteria said. "I think that speaks to who he is and his character and what he wants to start doing, as far as his career is concerned. It's important to get your feet wet and get acclimated to the professional game. The sooner the better. It sounds like he's raring and ready to go."
Schwarber, considered the best college bat in the Draft, was in Chicago this week to undergo a physical and meet with Cubs officials. He tweeted on Sunday that he was "Chicago bound" and asked for recommendations on places to eat in the city.
This is the third straight year the Cubs have picked a position player in the first round of the Draft.
Schwarber, 21, is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the top Division I catcher in the country. He batted .358 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .659 slugging percentage in his junior year at Indiana. In his final eight games for the Hoosiers, he batted .469 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and a .938 slugging percentage.
A native of Middletown, Ohio, Schwarber posted a .992 fielding percentage this season, and threw out 16 of 43 (37 percent) of attempted basestealers. Last year, he was named the top catcher in the country and a First Team All-American by Perfect Game and the NCBWA after hitting .366 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs in 61 games.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.