The clock is ticking for the Pittsburgh Pirates to come to terms with their first round pick in June’s MLB draft, Stanford right-hander Mark Appel.
That shouldn’t come of much as a surprise, as the Bucs have dealt with Appel’s agent Scott Boras and deadlines before, most notably in 2008 with Pedro Alvarez where the negotiations went down to the final seconds.
CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman reported that Appel is “leaning against” signing with the Pirates. The deadline for draft picks to sign with MLB teams is 5:00 p.m EDT Friday.
Appel, who was drafted by Pittsburgh with the No. 8 overall pick last month, has thus far turned down the Pirates’ reported maximum offer of $3.8 million. Due to new MLB draft rules, if Appel signs for more than $3.8 million, the Pirates will be stripped of their 2013 No. 1 pick.
However, if Appel declines Pittsburgh’s offer to stay at Stanford, the Bucs will get the No. 8 overall pick in next year’s draft — in addition to their other 2013 first-round pick.
Appel is one of six first-round picks from the June draft who have yet to sign.
Jim Callis of Baseball America keeps hearing the Pirates won’t give up a first round pick to sign Appel.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) July 9, 2012
While all signs point against the Bucs coming to terms with Appel, I still feel that there’s a pretty good chance that they will get a deal done.
They know how Boras works and contrary to the belief, Appel has too much to lose by returning to school.
If he returns to Stanford, there’s no guarantee that he improves his draft stock. Too many things can go wrong from injury to a drop in numbers. Negotiations may end up going down to the wire, similar to the situation involving Alvarez, but ultimately I feel a deal gets done.
Yet if for some reason it doesn’t, it won’t be because of the Pirates, although I’m sure they will take some unwarranted shots for being cheap. But that won’t be the case at all. The Bucs have offered the max allowed and if Appel won’t sign, there’s nothing they can really do about it.
In other Bucco’s news:
- The Pirates still are linked to both Justin Upton and Carlos Quentin, with Shane Victorino’s name being thrown in the mix as well. I would consider Upton a long shot but wouldn’t be surprised to see Neal Huntington make a serious push for Quentin and an arm during the next three weeks.
- The Bucs announced that they signed 16-year-old Dominican Michael DeLaCruz. The outfielder obtained a $700K bonus, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
“He is a young player with … tools that are still developing,” Pirates director of Latin American scouting Rene Gayo said. “He is also an instinctive and aggressive performer with a very strong opportunity to be a five-tool player.”
In addition, they are waiting to sign three more Dominican players for a combined total of $750K or so.
#Pirates signed Dominican OF Michael DeLaCruz for $700K. Waiting for 3 other DR players to turn 16 before they sign.
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) July 11, 2012