The Pittsburgh Pirates have until Friday at 5:00 PM to sign first round pick Mark Appel. Here are a few updates on the situation.
**Jon Heyman reports that Appel is leaning against signing with the Pirates for $3.8 M. The slot price for Appel is $2.9 M, but the Pirates could offer up to $3.8 M without losing a draft pick. It’s important to keep in mind that Heyman’s information usually comes from Scott Boras. So take his report with the huge disclaimer that it is probably one of Boras’ games.
**Jim Callis reports that the Pirates won’t give up a first rounder for Appel. So if Appel won’t sign for $3.8 M, they would presumably walk away and take the compensation pick next year. If they went this route, they’d have a little over $600 K to spend on over-slot picks in the later round, including 14th round pick Walker Buehler.
**Keith Law confirms what Callis reports, and also reports that the Pirates won’t give up a shot at a lottery pick. Teams who go over their bonus pools lose the chance to get additional picks. The Pirates could spend up to $3.8 M on Appel without losing a future pick, but they can only spend up to $3.5 M and still remain under their total bonus pool. Law also says that the draft next year looks weaker, although Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have both said it looks stronger.
**The Chicago Cubs went over-slot on sixth overall pick Albert Almora, giving him $3.9 M. That’s 20% over his slot price of $3.25 M. A similar increase for Appel would be $3.48 M.