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Report: Mark Appel turned down $6 million from Astros

Jun 5, 2012, 6:11 PM EDT

Mark Appel AP

It shocked many when the Astros decided to go with shortstop Carlos Correa over Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first pick in the MLB draft. As many speculated, Appel’s bonus demands may well have made the choice for them.

A source told Tom Krasovic that Appel, who is being advised by Scott Boras, turned down a $6 million offer from the Astros before the draft.

The Astros had a total draft budget of approximately $11.2 million, so they could have gone higher to sign Appel, but they clearly were hoping to save some money for other picks. Drafting Correa instead will likely allow them to do so.

As for Appel, he’s going to have problems now. The Pirates’ total draft budget is just under $6.6 million, so unless they’re willing to risk losing future draft picks, they’re not going to be able to give him even the $6 million the Astros were proposing.

  1. echech88 - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Prepare for a whole bunch of stories from Jon Heyman on how Appel is negotiating with teams in Japan

    • Del Pittman - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Too much leverage/character for me

  2. natsattack - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    It (usually) never pays (literally) to be greedy.

    • schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      It’s greedy to expect a bonus that MLB has set? $7.2m is what MLB expects the Astros to pay to the #1 pick, it would be insane for him to take less than that total – remember that the MLB slot recommendations were almost always exceeded in prior drafts.

      • term3186 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        Yeah……. and now it looks like he’ll be taking much less than that. Your view looks like its working out very well.

    • tgagbradley - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      I think the teams are right not to pay so much for untried players, just because a player is No. 1 in the draft does not mean thay will ever play up to their protential. People conplain about the prices of tickets and stuff at ballparks, but what do expect when teams pay so much money for players. greed never pays in the long run, it only hurts the game. Also I think the slot systems for teams to pay players is good for baseball and for smaller teams, who can’t aford Yankee,Red Sox, Phillies payroll.

      • samuellsamson - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        Whatever the cause is for expensive tickets and merchandise at ballparks, it’s not the amount of money spent on the amateur draft.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        who can’t aford Yankee,Red Sox, Phillies payroll.

        Last year’s highest spending TOTAL draft amount was the Pirates, at around $12M. Please point out the teams that can’t spend $12M on 35-40 players.

    • pitdoug1998 - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      Greedy? How is this young man getting market value ‘greedy’? After the feds confiscate 40% of the 6 million for demon-rats to BUY VOTES with he’ll only have 3.6 roughly. Hardly what he’s worth. I say get all you can while you can unless you’d rather the owners of the Astro’s to keep more of the so I guess they can be greedy.

      Greedy? Only jealous libs use that word. How do you know what this kid would do with HIS money and how’s it your business?

  3. brucewaynewins - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    How exactly is draft bonus budget determined? Just curious since it’s new.

    • schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      Here’s a Baseball America article about the slot amounts per pick and how much each team has to spend on the first 10 rounds: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/draft-preview/2012/2613426.html

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      MLB went and assigned every pick a value and then added it up to get a team’s budget.

      BA has the budget amounts here.

      • schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        Matthew, do you think that the Astros expected Appel to take $6m? I would think something like this happens every year when there isn’t a clear-cut #1 pick – if there isn’t much difference between your choices why wouldn’t you try to find out if someone would take a lowball offer?

      • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:09 PM

        It certainly does seem like an odd play. If Appel was the top player on the board — and most believe he was — then it seems foolish not to offer him at least slot money.

      • stex52 - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        But how much better? All I’ve been reading about is how this is a weak draft and there is not much difference in the first eight players.

      • paperlions - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        It actually makes a lot of sense to offer him below slot money if their #2 guy wasn’t far behind in their evaluations…the money saved will allow them to sign (potentially) McCullers and McCullers + Correa >> Appel + scrub.

        Ignoring the fact that the hard slotting system sucks balls, Appel had no leverage because he wasn’t head and shoulders above the next guy, and if he goes #2, he’s not likely to get any more than the $6M offered by the Astros….and he fell farther, there is almost no chance of getting that $6M. If teams are playing the hand they are dealt, it almost never makes sense to spend all of the money on a guy that is not clearly the guy you have to have if there is a guy just as good willing to take below slot….that saved money will allow teams chances to get more high end talent later in the draft.

  4. schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Why is this news? Did anyone really expect him to sign for 83% of slot?

    • lazlosother - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Given the alternatives, yes.

      • schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        What does that mean? He was the #1 player in the draft (according to some). This wasn’t a Matt Bush, Adrian Gonzalez, or Chipper Jones pick situation where the 1st pick was specifically taken because he would take less money.

      • saints97 - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Schlom, I don’t think you are getting the fact that $6 million was way more than he has any chance of getting now, and that was easily foreseeable. Even if he gets picked first in the draft next year, he has ZERO leverage as a player other than Independent ball or Asia, who aren’t going to give him anything even approaching that.

      • schlom - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        Saints97, people say that every year when players claim they will hold out and not sign and they almost always get what they are asking for. Look at Luke Hochevar for example.

      • lazlosother - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        Schlom, this isn’t other years. Teams now have a limit. MLB doesn’t just frown on them for going over, they punish them. Add to that the fact that there wasn’t an obvious #1 this year, and it’s not hard to figure that he will have a real difficult time getting more than he was offered originally. The lower he goes, the lower his slot amount will be. And Saints has a very valid point – next year his leverage is nada.

  5. astrosfan75956 - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Screw appel.

    • stex52 - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Why? For knowing he was being low-balled? It looks like the Astros were smart, and I’m glad for that (for a change). It’s a tough world out there, and this is his chosen profession. But we’ve been talking abut this for a couple of weeks. They need to rebuild the whole franchise, not pay one pretty good player.

      I hope he does well.

    • Glenn - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      After screwing Boras, if I have the energy.

  6. trybe29dr - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Interesting system…where did the $7.2M number come from?

  7. lumpyf - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    I don’t see the Pirates given Appel anywhere near 6 million, not if they want to sign their other picks. The player has no leverage. He can take 1.2 million less than slot or lose even more when he slides.

  8. obpedmypants - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    I wonder how many first picks from here on out are going to be offered the second pick’s slot recommendation? This systems seems to have handed teams a lot of leverage.

    • lumpyf - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

      Exactly. If this is true about Appel, then the Astros probably made the same offer to Correa or maybe even less. And he agreed because it will be more than what he would have gotten if he was drafted 3rd or lower. Now I understand why Boras was so pissed when MLB put these rules in place.

  9. vttailgater - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I wish MLB had assigned even lower dollar amounts. The NBA dropped the amount for rookie contracts and so did the NFL. It’s crazy to pay these unproven rookies so much money.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      Except even when you consider the money spent on flameouts, the ROI on the draft was something like orders of magnitude higher than the ROI on free agent spending. I’ve got to see if Ross Ohlendorf’s thesis on the subject is available online.

    • icanspeel - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      If you think about it they aren’t paying them that much since they own the players for so long. If the player isn’t MLB ready they could be stuck in the minors for 3-4 years, then when they finally make it they will probably make the league minimum for 2 years, now you are looking at say a 6 mill signing bonus 5-6 years later and it doesn’t seem like that much then.

  10. randygnyc - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Mathew, maybe the Astros valued him only slightly better than other choices at the price offered? At slot value they figured the money spent elsewhere was the prudent decision.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      $6M isn’t slow for the first pick, $7.2M is which is 20% higher than they [reportedly] offered.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        sigh, $6M isn’t slot for the first pick

        edit function please.

      • samuellsamson - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        No. But it’s a lot higher than slot for the 8th pick, which is where he fell to as a result of not taking $6m.

  11. Ben - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Would Appel even be a #8 pick in a normal (less sucky) year?

    • catcher50 - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Probably not. Gio was the clear #1, if you were willing to take the chance, even assuming delaying appearance in the Majors for a year for TJ surgery.

      It’s not that the whole year is sucky, it’s just that the + talent is in the 2nd through 7th rounds.

      • brewcitybummer - Jun 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        And that last years draft is impossible to follow, given that it had 7 or so number one overall talents.

  12. vttailgater - Jun 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Oh yeah, and screw Boras.

  13. stex52 - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    In retrospect, and given their next draft choice, it looks like the Astros had a bigger strategy in mind. Can’t say this is definite, but I think they judged Appel, Bruxton and Correa virtually even so they went for the one they thought they could sign quickly and cheaply (I mean below slot). Added to that is the fact that an MLB- ready pitcher doesn”t change the Astros future much. They need depth. Now make some good draft choices down the line and you can talk kids out of college by beating their slot.

    Nothing against Appel. Hell, he’s a Houston kid; he would have been popular. But Luhnow’s job for the next three years or so requires thinking big.

  14. stex52 - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    By the way, I don’t think the new draft system will work out very well for the kids or for the smaller franchises. But that’s the deal for the next seven years.

    • jwbiii - Jun 5, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      The smaller teams were the ones pushing for this arrangement. They didn’t want big teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Pirates spending over slot recommendations in the lower rounds.

  15. rcali - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Don’t think the Pirates are going to be offering much. Hope he likes college.

    • jwbiii - Jun 5, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      And come back to the draft next year as a no leverage college senior?

  16. cereal blogger - Jun 5, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Seems like a lack of communication on both sides, Appel will turn down offers until the deadline obviously but the Stros panic & take a high school position player over a potential stud arm….meanwhile Appel is pitching in pfffft Pittsburgh rather than Texas & probably lost 2-3 mill in the whole deal

    • aglumac - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Ya the Pirates havent won 8-10, are in 2nd place right now, and havent spent more money accruing talent the last three years than anyone else, he would have been much better off in the Astros organization. If you are the Pirates, is this kid really that good that you are potentially giving up two 1 picks, and the rights to be in the supplemental 1st round competitive balance lottery, and pay the rediculous taxes? Smart move, if he signs for the slot value, you got a great draft pick, of he doesnt you will be picking 9 next year as compensation for him not signing in wich many scouts are calling a much deeper talented draft. As much as Boras doesnt want it that way, his leverage isnt nearly what it used to be, Appel was 6-7 last year, go back to school and hope for a better year, and no injuries, and then hope you get drafted 1st next year? Doesnt seem too likely.

  17. term3186 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Borass and Appel played hardball with the Astros and it blew up in their face.

    • samuellsamson - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I think the Astros adjusted to the new draft rules quicker than Boras did. If one side effect of the changes is less influence for S.B. then I’m ok with that.

    • brewcitybummer - Jun 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      No. The Astros played hardball with them. There is nothing wrong that and it was probably the right move. But don’t try to make the facts fit the narrative. Yeah, Scott Boras sucks, but this is a team leveraging the hell out of Boras for once and not the other way around.

  18. beeninnikes - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Agree with term3186. Boras is obviously good at what he does, but his tactics make him look like a douchebag. Always glad to see him fall on his face. Is Boras bad for baseball?

  19. Walk - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Cn he sue boras for lost income? That mistake was obvious since the scale was added.

    • cereal blogger - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Sure, he can claim he was mis-represented unless there is something in his contract with Boras that prevents one taking legal action against the other…given you rarely see this, I wouldnt be surprised if there was

    • samuellsamson - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      I can’t help feeling Boras could afford better lawyers than Appel could. Might be a tough case to win.

  20. hansob - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Does it look like Boras’ advice will end up costing Appel? yeah… but then again his hardball tactics got Prince Fielder a ridiculous contract. I think he tends to like the risk factor more than other agents. Which is good for him, because he’s got a bunch of clients, so he can go 7 for 10 on holding out for more money and make more in commissions. Unfortunately, those 3 players that it doesn’t work out for get left out in the cold.

    He was willing to gamble that the Astros were trying to lowball, and in the end wouldn’t go for another player. He was wrong.

  21. barneys2centsworth - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Boros can afford to gamble. He’s so far ahead, it doesn’t matter if he turns down 6 and ends up with less. Cumulatively, he makes more than his most highly paid client every year – or close to it.

  22. prrbrr - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Good luck with that!!! I wonder if Boras is going to pick up the missing money he expected to get paid?

  23. rico7207 - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    If he got into a car accident and injured for life, the game would go on just the same without him. Let him go to Japan.

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