UPDATE 4:04 PM: With less than a hour to go, all signs point to the Pirates moving on from Mark Appel. I’ve confirmed through sources that 16th round pick Max Moroff has signed for $300,000. That takes $200,000 away from Appel’s potential bonus. I’ve heard from several camps that players in the middle rounds are waiting to see what happens with Appel.
The Pirates now have $550,740 to spend on over-slot bonuses without losing a pick. That number is if Appel doesn’t sign. If he does sign, they’d get an extra $145 K. Either way, Appel could sign at the deadline. The $2.9 M will be there, along with that extra $145 K if he signs. But it’s looking like that money is disappearing fast.
UPDATE 2:22 PM: Keith Law has been one of the people saying next year’s draft is weak. He repeats that on Twitter, and says Appel has a chance of going top two. Even if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be much of a change from this year. Appel entered the year as the top draft prospect, and was considered a candidate to go first overall right up until the Astros took Carlos Correa. If he fell this year, he could fall next year. He also has less leverage next year as a college senior.
UPDATE 2:16 PM: Jim Callis weighs in with a few thoughts on Twitter. He says that everyone is saying Appel won’t sign, and that he’s leaning that way, although he wouldn’t rule out Appel signing. Of the unsigned first rounders, he gives Kevin Gausman the best chance to sign, Lucas Giolito the second best chance, and Appel third. That’s pretty surprising to see Giolito ahead of Appel. Giolito has a lot more leverage, as he can go to school and re-enter the draft in three years. Also, the most Washington can give him is $3.03 M, while the Pirates can give Appel over $3.8 M.
11:40 AM: Keeping track of all of the Mark Appel rumors with less than six hours remaining for him to sign.
**Jon Heyman writes that Appel is unlikely to sign by the deadline today. He says that the Pirates would have to raise their offer for Appel, and in doing so, they would have to forfeit their 2013 first round pick. He mentioned the Pirates won’t go that route. Heyman also mentioned that the only slim chance of Appel signing is an intervention by MLB, pointing out a flaw in the rules. I would point out that another possibility would be Appel deciding to sign by the deadline. Heyman notes that there’s no feeling that the Pirates have done anything wrong with the negotiations.
**The Pirates signed 18th round pick John Kuchno for $25,000 over-slot. As I mentioned last night, they’ve also been offering over-slot deals to other mid-round picks. That’s significant, as it reduces the available money they have to sign Appel.
More to come throughout the day.