Ah, you can hear the signing deadline roaring along. The Pirates have until 5 PM Friday to sign the draft pick that dropped in their laps, RHP Mark Appel of Stanford. Fasten your seat belts for 96 hours of prime-time drama.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that he's leaning against signing. Jim Callis of Baseball America added that the Bucs have $3.87M to offer without forfeiting their first round pick, which we can almost assuredly vouch that they won't, and that Appel is up in the air over the offer. Keith Law of ESPN confirms that the Pirates will not give up their 2013 first-rounder.
OK, so the first tweet was cyberbombed by Heyman, who has a long association with Boras (just google Jon Heyman Scott Boras for examples). Scott should be working hard for his client; he advised him to go for big bucks that no one was willing to pay him, and that's the reason he fell to Pittsburgh in the eighth round.
But for once, all the chips are piled up in front of the Pirate FO. Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette thinks that the Appel guys are boo-hooing because the Bucs had the audacity to sign their other picks and not save enough pool money to pour into Appel's pocket.
Tough beans, Mark. You're not their only pick, and the guys that signed are playing ball and beginning their journey. Barrett Barnett, Wyatt Mathison, Jacob Stallings and the others are at State College or GCL Bradenton now, and they all seem to realize something that
Appel doesn't - the big money is in your MLB contract, not your draft
bonus. And he's threatening to set back his big league arrival a year by not signing.
The only leverage that he holds is that Pittsburgh may want to ink him as a fallback if they decide to trade Jameson Taillon, and they can work their way around that.
Additionally, if Appel decides to risk another season with the Cardinal, Pittsburgh gets the ninth pick in the 2013 draft to compensate per the new CBA. And Appel is taking a risk; he may be lights out as a senior, or he may underperform or get hurt, the bane of all pitchers. He will have to pitch well next year. To guarantee a bigger payday, Appel will need to be a top four pick as this year's slot was $3.5M in the fifth round. As a ploy, holding out really doesn't do much to enhance your future draft position, particularly as a college senior.
So the posing by Boras is really just that, an artifice to try to create leverage where there is none. Make no mistake that Mark Appel would be a nice addition to the system. But with the CBA as is, he'll have to take the sure $3.8M now or roll the dice for a bigger payday in 2013.