Mark Appel Updates: Monday

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.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • John DiVito

    It seems like a foolish decision on Appel’s part. There is nothing for him to gain unless he goes back to college and completely dominates next year. He will still probably not go in the top few picks next year anyway, which would put him in the same position he is in now, just one year later. Any student of economics would tell you that having $3.8 million in the bank an extra year is a good thing :)

    • buccotime57

      just a ploy from his agent..there is no where to improve he will have even less on his side being a college senior…just take the money

      • Sean Fogle

        That’s what i was thinking. A ploy from Boras. Boras already costed this kid millions.

    • Lee Young

      Heck, I’d give him 2.9mil and tell him to tkae it or leave it. Give the rest to Ross or Buehler or both.

      • Lee Young

        ‘take it’

  • buccotime57

    Any news on Kevin Ross ?

  • Richard Ya’Zhynka

    The Pirates should not go over $3.5 million. If Appel won’t sign for that amount, take the compensation pick next year. One benefit of not signing Appel is that it would send the message to every agent in baseball that the Pirates are willing to not sign a top pick.
    But I believe that Appel will sign for no more than $3.5 million. He has no leverage. If he doesn’t sign, he won’t have the negotiating ploy of returning to school again after next year’s draft and he would be very unlikely to get a bigger bonus next year. He could very well end with a smaller one.

  • ADman2B

    I can’t imagine that he won’t sign. He will have absolutely NO leverage next year as a college senior even if he does happen to improve his draft position.

  • John Lease

    If he wants to give up the money, do it. Appel won’t be the first idiot, and won’t be the last.

  • Steve Williams

    If Appel thinks for himself, he will sign. It is a no-brainer. However if he is controlled by Scott Boras – as most of Boras’ clients are – then he likely will not sign. The reason is that Boras’ goal is to maximize Scott Boras’ long-term profit – not to make the best decision for any one client. By convincing Appel to walk away from the Pirates’ offer, it may help him build credibility for future negotiations. Also it will spare him the humiliation of having his client sign for $3.5M after he could have had $5-6M from the Astros if Boras hadn’t misplayed his hand prior to the draft.

  • Fred Langford

    Best case scenario Appel goes back to college and is even better and becomes a top 3 pick and gets a few extra million. …but he risks getting hurt. Is 1.5-2 mil really worth losing a year in an mlb system and the chance you screw up your arm? To Boras the risk is worth it…but kids need to realize…Boras is probably already worth hundreds of millions. He can wait a year to look good and boost his rep as a ruthless negotiator.

  • john.alcorn

    Unless the rules have changed the Pirates will lose leverage with a comp pick next year because it won’t be guaranteed, it’ll be use it or lose it. I really doubt that they can draft a top 3 SP in the draft pool in that scenario at #9. They will have to opt for a guy they know they can sign.

    • Kevin_Creagh

      The rules have changed. The pick next year is protected, as well. There’s a lot of changes to keep track of and a lot of quirks.

      • john.alcorn

        Thanks Kevin, in that case we indeed have very little to lose.

  • Ian Rothermund

    What an annoying jerk this guy seems like. This is not the kind of stuff that will win you over with Pittsburghers.

  • Ian Rothermund

    I would love to see him not sign this year, then fall to the Pirates again in 2013 and have 0 negotiating leverage. Then, we go from a 3 million dollar bonus this year to a 650k bonus next year.

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