OK, Mark Appel says he's going back to Stanford. Hope it works out for him; can't say much more than the Bucs tried. They offered him $3.8M, the max they could go without losing a draft pick, and they'll get the #9 spot in 2013 as compensation.
Appel said "After much thought, prayer and analysis of both opportunities, I came
to the conclusion the best decision is to remain at Stanford continuing
my studies, finishing my degree and doing all I can to assist the
Cardinal baseball team in our goal to win a national championship"
Outside of perhaps giving the Pirates second thoughts about dealing one of their elite prospects without another arm in the system - and most indications were that they weren't, anyway - it hurts just because they drafted a couple of top ten guys for signability rather than talent to keep the pot pumped for Appel, so it affected the depth of the draft class more deeply than just losing out on a #1. So much for helping the small revenue clubs, thank you Bud Selig.
GM Neal Huntington explained simply that "Our final offer exceeded the available bonus pool money and was
essentially up to the last dollar we could offer prior to falling into
the second tier penalty which would have resulted in the loss of a first
round draft selection. While, as we have shown in past years, we are
willing to be aggressive with our financial offer, we simply did not
feel it was in the best interest of the organization to forfeit our
first round selection in the 2013 amateur draft. Selecting Mark was a calculated risk, as we knew he would be a difficult sign."
Scott Boras didn't take any shots at the team. His rationale was “This system placed teams like Pittsburgh in a great dilemma. It wasn't about a willingness to pay. It’s about a system.” He then added “The Pirates are doing an excellent job to build the franchise. They
showed willingness to do everything and there were restrictions."
Pittsburgh did sign three prep overslots. 17th-rounder RHP Hayden Hurst came aboard for $400K, a big projectable high school arm who stands 6'5", and so far he's gotten the second-biggest deal after 10th round. They also inked their 8th-round pick, high school SS Kevin Ross, for $130K. Max Moroff, another high school SS selected in the 16th-round, signed for $300K.
Beside Appel, they also lost fourth round pick OF Brandon Thomas, who plays for Georgia Tech. The team also lost out on high school pitcher Walker Buehler, who they hoped would be a fallback if Appel didn't come to terms.
The good news is that according to Baseball America, they spent $92,600 less than the cap, so they're good for all the grab-bag goodies after the draft.
Brave new world, meh.