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No deal for Mark Appel and the Pirates

Jul 13, 2012, 5:35 PM EDT

Mark Appel AP

Pirates first round draft pick Mark Appel is going back to college. Because he and Pittsburgh failed to reach a deal by today’s deadline.

The eighth overall pick had seemed like a signing longshot for some time. In large part because he was originally expected to be the first overall pick before his hometown Houston Astros passed on him after he declined a $6 million bonus before the draft.  That was not the maximum the Astros could have give him. They could have gone to $7.8 million in this new bonus-capped, hard-slotted world in which we now operate, but the ‘Stros obviously didn’t think he was worth it.

Enter the Pirates, who per the slot rules could have given Appel around $3.8 million or so. Maybe a bit more depending on what they did with later picks, but not much more.  Since negotiations began, this seemed like it was never going to happen. Appel wanted more and the Pirates would be forced to surrender a first round pick in 2013 if they exceeded their draft bonus cap.

As Matthew noted earlier this week, Appel would seem to have a lot to lose by going back to school for his senior season. Unless he raises his draft stock for next year, he won’t stand to make any more and could slide down further. It’s early yet, but next year’s draft looks kind of weak so it’s possible. But of course, there’s always a risk of injury.

Scott Boras is Appel’s agent and he is on record as hating the bonus caps. I suppose he hoped to bust them with Appel, just like he has busted past attempts by the owners to curb bonuses. But it didn’t work this time. Or maybe his client was simply obstinate. Hard to say.  Either way, the Pirates don’t have their first round pick and Appel has to wait another year to start his march to the majors.

  1. redguy12588 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    My anger is all gone, now I’m just depressed. I want the old system back.

    Sincerely,

    A sad Pirates fan

    • AK47 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      I would agree with you, except it doesn’t look like you’re losing out on all that much. He seems like a kid that thinks awfully highly of himself – and it was clear by where he was drafted that more than a few teams didn’t think all that much of him.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        Yeah, the Nats clearly wouldn’t have been missing out too much on Bryce Harper since he seemed at the time like a kid that thought awfully highly of himself. But hey, use those rationales if you want to get past the fact that in a year the Pirates will instead be getting two prospects almost certainly not as good as Appel.

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:59 PM

        Kevin, Kevin, Kevin…..when will you learn. These “kids” are all greedy assholes and should be despised for expecting market value in exchange for their services, which earn billions of dollars for no-talent, rich, old, white guys.

        I don’t know about you, but I boo players when I go to the ball park and cheer the owner for his greatness.

    • Panda Claus - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      I can feel for what you’re going through, having almost seen my team let its #1 pick get away before making a last-minute agreement.

      However, look at the brighter side for a moment. In a system that’s continuing to develop talent for the future, the Pirates will now have an extra #1 (to compensate for not signing Appel) in the 2013 draft.

      More importantly in the big picture, clearly your Pirates took one for the entire MLB ownership team. Closing the door in Boras’ face is something I wish all teams would do far more often.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        the Pirates will now have an extra #1 (to compensate for not signing Appel) in the 2013 draft.

        Except it’s an extra pick, in a weaker draft where, baring injury, Appel will be the #1 pick. So the Pirates miss out on, what many say, was the best player in this draft AND miss out on the best player in next year’s draft.

        Closing the door in Boras’ face is something I wish all teams would do far more often.

        Heaven forbid a guy does his job which involves getting his players the most amount of money. We should just put more it in the owner’s pockets, because that’s who I go to see when I visit a MLB stadium.

      • lburgscott66 - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:29 AM

        Gonna be soooooo broken hearted when that lil ligament in his elbow snaps. Greedy punk..

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        Appel is a talented guy no question, and I did have hopes that the Buccos signed him. But with that being said, Pitching wasn’t the biggest area of need for this club and in large part Appel (in my estimation) was a very nice to have, but not a need to have. With Cole, Taillon, Owens, Wilson and Heredia in the minors, and with Lincoln (if he is still a starter at this point) in the majors, the Pirates aren’t exactly weak on the pitching side of things. What they need is a bat in that system – other than Marte and Hansen, who’s next? An injured Josh Bell? Take the #9 pick next year, get a strong bat (preferably one that plays SS or Catcher – not a Tony Sanchez guy here), and roll from there.

        As for Appel – sorry we couldn’t get him under contract but no ill-will towards the kid. He’s gotta make a decision for him and his family. Hope he gets drafted and becomes a Major League talent… just preferably somewhere in the AL.

    • opshuns - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      No, for going back to the old system. Yes, on ignoring and Boras’ clients.

      Dude, look at your farm system… You have some pretyy fine studs that at getting close.

    • brewcitybummer - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:41 AM

      I know it sucks redguy and this probably won’t make you feel any better but here it goes anyway. I think what you lost out on was possibly closer to a number 3 starter than a number 1. I’m not sure his scouting reports that I’ve read look like those of a 1st overall pick.-

      -2 plane slurvy breaking ball that lacks intensity.
      -Hard, downhill fastball that didn’t create as much swing and miss as you would expect
      -change up is not anything special

  2. 69jaredallen69 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    You know this is going to end badly either an arm injury or a big slide next year due to teams sending another message to Boras

  3. dondada10 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Dumb. Why pass up the opportunity the set yourself up for life?

    • baseballisboring - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      I kind of agree, but 7.5MM to 3.8MM is a pretty big gap, and from what I’ve heard about next year’s draft class it’s very possible Appel could go 1-1 again. But if he gets hurt, doesn’t perform well, teams get scared off by Boras or a few college prospects have surprise seasons, then he’s really screwed himself out of a year of playing time and possibly money.

      • alang3131982 - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM

        Yeah, what i’ve read, there’s a solid chance he goes tops next year (if he remains good/healthy). If so, he’ll have a tougher negotiating position, but should be able to get near $4 million more.

        It’s a heck of a gamble. One I wouldnt make. BUt he clearly believes in himself and wants to maximize his one guaranteed payday. Anything can happen in the long term and who is to say he ever gets to being a real free agent. I’d take the millions and run, but cant fault a kid for understanding the decision and taking the bold route.

      • surefooted1 - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

        He’s not taking a gamble to get an extra $4m, he’s taking the gamble to get an extra $1m+. Remember, he was offered $6m and turned it down.

        Will it be worth the risk for the extra $1m+? Who knows.

      • dan1111 - Jul 14, 2012 at 5:13 AM

        @surefooted1, Appel falling to #8 was a surprise, probably to him as well. I doubt that he was thinking of waiting until next year when he turned down $6 million from the Astros. He probably expected for the Astros to pick him anyway and sign him for even more money–or at worst to fall a slot or two and still get close to $6 million.

        The idea of waiting until next year probably arose precisely because he fell so far. The choice really was between $3.8 million now and what he could get next year, because by the time this happened he couldn’t go back and accept the original offer.

    • opshuns - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      I wonder if this kid was scared he might not make more money and wanted as much as he could get now. Boras’ propaganda might have ruined this kids future.

  4. psuravens19 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Not sure why the pirates wasted a pick on him if he wouldn’t sign the Astros deal.

    • hansob - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Well… either they get Appel for a $3.XM bonus, or they get the #9 pick in a stronger draft. It was kind of a win-win situation (or maybe a win-push depending on what you think of this year’s draft vs next year’s).

      I tend to agree that the chances that he would sign were pretty slim. That would have involved Boras basically admitting a mistake (not taking the Astros offer).

      • alang3131982 - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        But next year isnt a stronger draft. From folks i’ve read (Law, Goldstein), Appel > next years #9 + #20 or whatever they get

  5. joecool16280 - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Greed.

    • paperlions - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Totally agree. How much money do billionaires need that they can’t pay market value for their employees?

      • Kevin S. - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        To be fair, there’s no indication that the Pirates’ decision was financial. They were fairly clearly constrained by the specter of losing a draft pick next year. While I don’t think it’s automatic that Appel wasn’t worth busting through for that, I’ll defer to Neil Huntington on how to best manage his pick situation.

      • paperlions - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        That was a reference to the stupidity that is the slotting system and the draconian penalties for not abiding by it…not a comment on Pittsburgh’s inability to sign Appel within the context of that system.

  6. lookatmike - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I hope to one day have the opportunity to turn down $6 million.

    When that day comes, I will immediately take the money and spend the rest of my life bathing in champagne.

    But the opportunity would absolutely have been there.

    • lookatmike - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      Actually, now I see the problem. Got curious and did some math, and assuming a 10 minute shower per day, industry standard 2.5 gal/min shower head, and let’s say you’re going fairly economical and using $20 bottles of champagne (0.75 L/bottle), $6 million only gets you 6 years of showers! Less if it’s taxable. That’s a harsh reality check.

      • dan1111 - Jul 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM

        World, meet the greatest comment that has ever existed in the history of you.

  7. sportsdrenched.com - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    There are certainly worse things than having ‘just’ a Stanford Education to fall back on. However, if you think your game is better than $6 Million in a slotting system that makes dollars more valuable lets see what you got.

    I’ll certainly be follwing the story going forward.

  8. Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Smart move by Appel. Given the predictions about next year’s draft he is likely to go first, assuming he avoids injury. Too bad the MLBPA and MLB have screwed over high school and college kids they do not even represent. Hopefully a court case ensues at some point.

    • danaking - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      There’s a lot said about how these kids are getting screwed; I don’t see it. I’m almost always on the players’ side in ownership-players issue, but these kids have not one day of professional experience. The teams are taking a gamble on everyone of them. It’s not like there is a dearth of people who want these jobs. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you automatically deserve to get rich off of it right out of the gate. Ask any musician, writer, athlete in a less glamorous sport, PhD graduate…

      If they prove themselves, they’ll get paid, and more than any of them should be able to spend in a lifetime. If they don’t prove themselves, well there’s a lottery for people who want to get rich quick. Buy a ticket.

      • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        These ‘kids’ are giving up the prime career building years of their lives on the long shot of becoming one of a teensy tiny percentage that can compete for one of 750 jobs in a nation of 300 million people(and with a signficant number of those jobs going to foreigners).

        Its a huge risk, even at the top of the pack. The ‘sure bet’ for Appel is to finish up his Stanford degree, quite frankly the few million he is being offered here is a drop in the bucket compared to the lifetime of earnings he would potentially have with such a degree.

        So in order to manage the risk, he wants to make certain the guaranteed portion of it is as high as possible. People may think he is ‘giving up’ something by spending an extra year in college, but in reality he will be pitching, continuing his development and may simply reach the majors in a year less than he would have otherwise(is college really that far below low A ball?).

        In his situation I would have done the same thing, provided I first recieved medical advice to make certain I was not courting disaster. His risk of injury this year is no greater than in any other given year, and even injured top prospects tend to get signed for a couple of million(a couple went in the first round this year).

        He just does not have much to lose, but does have much to gain.

        As for the ‘spend in a lifetime’, I suppose the $3.8 million sounds like a lot to you. It really does not sound like that much to me. Given today’s interest rates, a reasonably middle class lifestyle would likely blow through that in about 20 years(especially once you consider inflation) unless you made good bets on the stock market. Its unlikely that is a ‘lifetime’ of earnings, and it certainly does not compete with a Stanford grad’s earnings over a lifetime. Even the six million offered is questionable, depending on what his degree is(I rescind everything if he is a poetry major).

      • danaking - Jul 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        @Reflex (below,not sure why I can’t reply there),
        Read what I actually said. The “money he can’t spend in a lifetime” comes after he proves himself. What he and Boras is to delay the start of that clock for a year.

        It sounds like he doesn’t need the money. Good for him. Someone else who wants to get a start and prove himself, instead of just paid for promise, will happily take his roster spot.

      • Reflex - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        The comment system only goes three deep, so you have to reply above to reply to this.

        And what if he never makes the big show? Most draft picks do not. Even most first rounders. Then he’d regret not maximizing now when his value is highest. Waiting a year to potentially max out his slot bonus seems reasonable given that its most likely the highest value he will ever be in his career.

    • stabonerichard - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Where is the upside for Appel (and Boras) with how they handled his 2012 draft eligibility?

      They had a $6M offer on the table that would have made him the #1 overall pick and kept him in his hometown. That’s a dream scenario when it comes to getting a jumpstart on endorsement deals, a la Joe Mauer drafted #1 in hometown Minnesota.

      Being selected #1 next season figures to be the *only* way Appel will be able to match, or have any chance at surpassing, that type of overall package. Sure, it could happen, but that’s way too much of a gamble for my blood.

      So even if he avoids injury and has a stellar season that earns him top selection in the draft, he’ll still have put another season of mileage on his arm with zero financial compensation. This approach he & Boras have chosen means he’ll be 22 years old when he gets his first taste of professional ball. It’s the exact opposite of what Boras brilliantly did with Harper, speeding up his professional eligibility clock and getting as much of a headstart on free agency as possible.

      I just don’t get it.

      • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        Look at next year’s draft. Virtually no one is projected to be as valued as the top three picks from this year’s. He stands an extremely realistic chance of being the top pick, and not only getting the $7.8 million available for the top pick, but possibly exceeding it due to the down draft picks not being worth their slots and getting less(ie: spend extra on Appel and spend less on others who aren’t as highly valued as their draft position).

        He stands to make an additional $1.8 million vs the Astros’ offer, and $4 million over the Pirates’ offer. All for waiting just one year. Given the low success rate of draft picks, his gamble passes basic risk/reward analysis, *especially* since he’s not some junior college kid with a degree in ‘sports management’ but instead has a Stanford education to fall back on in the small likelihood that his arm disintegrate this season unexpectedly.

      • stabonerichard - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        First off, let’s be clear — Appel & Boras passed on 6 million dollars. Then they passed on less after that.

        As a senior next season, he’ll have zero leverage come draft time. So if he goes anywhere but #1, he won’t beat that $6M offer in any substantive way. And there’s obviously all sorts of scenarios where he’ll end up with less than $6M.

        As for next year’s draft class appearing poor now, we all now how tricky this game of projecting prospects can be and how fluid things tend to be with rankings. What we do know is this year’s class was very weak and yet Mark Appel–with his career numbers of 18-10, 3.22 ERA and 8 Ks/9 at the collegiate level–wasn’t a slam dunk as the top talent in this year’s weak draft. Appel is far from a can’t-miss guy or a lock for next year’s #1 slot. He’s got one really good year under his belt…and that’s it. You’re putting a lot of faith in that one season’s worth of performance, along with those other things breaking right for him as well.

        So anyway, if he does come thru with a stellar 2013 season that makes him the top selection in the draft, he’ll still have put another year’s workload on his arm with no financial compensation, pushed his ML free agency eligibility a year closer to 30… all for the chance at an extra couple million bucks. In the short term.

        On the other side of the coin, well… there’s a million different ways things could break in the wrong direction… only time will tell.

      • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        They did pass on $6 million. From the figures I’ve found, that was equivilent to the fourth selection in the draft. For someone who was the consensus #1, that would be a silly offer to accept. Again, thats leaving $1.8 million on the table, potentially more if the team was willing to hit the additional 5% over they can hit before losing a draft pick. I do not know about you, but $1.8 million is a lot of money to leave on the table given his reasonably low chance of becoming a major leaguer or having a sustained MLB career.

        Given that, turning down the Pirates was a no-brainer. Sure if they chose to bust their next couple years to go over slot and pay him #1 money he would take it, and I am willing to bet some team does just that soon enough. But realistically when he refused to accept #4 money for a #1 selection, he was not going to sign this year. Nor should he have.

        As for next year, this year’s draft was considerably stronger than next years is expected to be. Yes there is a chance that four players will significantly improve thier expectations and rise above him, thus putting him in a worse position than this season, but the odds of that are not very likely, barring injury. Its a classic risk/reward situation, and in this case I think he is absolutely correct to risk it. I know I would and I tend to be risk adverse.

        Furthermore, you state that if he ‘comes through with a stellar 2013 season that makes him the top selection in the draft’ that it would not come with a financial reward. Actually it would, a potential $1.8 million more as next year’s top pick, hopefully for a club not as cheap as the Astros.

        Also, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how college players are percieved. College hitters are generally considered overrated due to smaller parks and aluminum bats. College pitchers are considered underrated for exactly the same reason. His stats that you put up are fantastic for a college pitcher in a competitive division. That is why he is such a highly touted prospect. Proving himself in that division for another year can do nothing but enhance his value, short of injury of course.

        Yes, things could go wrong, but again, by staying his ‘plan B’ is a Stanford education, not a terrible consolation prize given that it was his baseball skills that got him into Stanford in the first place.

  9. hansob - Jul 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    According to this handy, dandy Baseball America database, they offered about $3.32M to Appel, and were willing to pay the $246,000 penalty for going over slot. They were unwilling to throw in another $325K or so, which would have cost them another $246K penalty plus their first rounder next year.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draftdb/2012xteam.php?team=1015

    Unless they signed Brandon Thomas (4th round pick) for under slot, which would have freed up more money, but it sounds like Thomas is going back to Georgia Tech.

  10. phillyphever - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Oh poor Scott Boras. Live with the slotting rules like all other agents are.

  11. prosourcetalk - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    This is fine for the Pirates. They get an extra 1st rounder next year. They already have a decent farm system since they started drafting better in the past few years, so losing out on Appel isn’t the end of the world. It was a solid gamble on their part.

  12. weaselpuppy - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    As far as next year being #1OA….he was going to be that THIS yr! What makes anyone think he has a better position next year? It very well could be the Astros again picking there. They already think he’s not worth it AND a jackass….the odds he slips again are pretty dang high, given that the teams just bitch-slapped Boras and would be happy to do it again….If it’s not the Astros, do you pass like 7 other teams did this year because he’s being difficult/his agent is a tool?

    Kid is in a weaker position next year regardless where he goes. I’m sure Scotty is paying for a Lloyd’s of London policy on him now, so yeah, he’ll get paid even if he tears his arm up and can’t be drafted…..but do those policies cover loss of value if he slips to round 12 due to TJ surgery? Hmmmm….Really Bad Move, kid. Stanford is slipping….

    • schlom - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      I’ve said this before but Scott Boras clients that refuse to sign almost always get paid in the end. The exact same things were said about Luke Hochevar and he got more in the end.

      • weaselpuppy - Jul 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        and he absolutely stinks. Who knows if the extra year dinking around changed his career trajectory? But if he had signed, I am willing to bet things would be different. KC can’t develop a pitcher to save their life, so he bought into a much worse developmental and coaching situation all because Boras got him…what, like $1m more? Having a lifetime 5.x ERA pretty much insures he won’t have a long career and makes that $1m pale in comparison to having a long healthy productive career even as a back of the rotation filler for 15 yrs. He’s not even that after 5 years…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      They already think he’s not worth it AND a jackass…

      Yeah that’s not what happened. They were negotiating with multiple players for the #1 pick and went with a guy who signed under slot to give them more money for another player later in the 1st round. It had nothing to do with ability, considering every prospect guru had Appel as the clear #1.

      Can we also knock it off with the “turned down $6M” rumor. There’s zero proof of it, contrary to everyone quoting it as fact, and most guys like Goldstein and Law are saying it never happened.

  13. randygnyc - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Appel was a number 1 who only slipped in the draft because of sign-ability. Because he was unhappy with 1 slot money, and apparently rebuffing the Astros, I don’t know what he’s got to gain at this point. If everything goes right for him, he avoids injury and performs at the highest level, he still can’t go higher than number 1 next year anyway. He loses a year and risks everything while maintaining little leverage after next draft.

    • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      The Astros offered less than slot money for the number one pick. That is why he turned them down. I’m not certain how he ‘loses a year’, A ball does not pay very much and he will still be developing as a pitcher at Stanford.

      • stabonerichard - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        Stud pitchers (the type that go #1 overall and command a big signing bonus) don’t tend to be pitching at A-ball at age 21. Trevor Bauer, for example, is a few months younger than Appel and already has the meter running on his ML service time, counting down to ML free agency and the truly big bucks.

        I agree with you the difference between Pac-12 college ball and A-ball probably isn’t huge, but the problem as I see it for Mark Appel is he’s now stuck at that level thru age 21, essentially stunting his development.

      • stabonerichard - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        errr…meant to say Bauer is a few years older than Appel but the general point remains the same.

      • stabonerichard - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:44 PM

        arrgghhh…a few months older. Clearly time for me to give up and start the weekend!

        It’ll be interesting to see how things play out. I certainly don’t wish any ill will towards the kid; I just don’t understand/like the gamble.

      • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:12 PM

        I do not agree that it stunts his development in the slightest. He stands just as big a chance of getting called up in September next year. He was never going to get called up September this year. He’s at one of the best baseball programs in college, an extra year there can only help him.

        Also, even a callup is not as valuable as you seem to presume. The $1.8 million left on the table is the equivilent of three seasons at the minor league minimum, the only amount he is guaranteed to be paid for his first several seasons until he hits arbitration. Giving up one year of service time now seems silly given that:

        1) He may never make the major leagues regardless
        2) If he does, the average career is not so long that he is likely to hit the free agency jackpot as the kind of stud pitcher who gets the kind of money that makes that extra year of FA worth more than $1.8 million in today’s dollars
        3) He’d be giving up a valuable degree from Stanford, one that is likely worth more than $1.8 million should he not make it in baseball(probably worth more than $6 million over a career, really)

  14. opshuns - Jul 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Appel will have no leverage unless he wants to be a doctor or white collar worker. Seniors only choices are get a working man’s diploma or go show your baseball stuff in an independent league…

  15. ratflop - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    The slot was 2.9 million, Pittsburgh offered 3.8 million. What more did he expect? This is a huge gamble on his behalf. He just turned down the opportunity to financially secure himself and future generations for decades.

    To top it off, there is very little – if any – financial benefit even if this does pan out – by waiting around another year, he merely puts off his first big contract by a year.

    I can’t help but think that this mere 20 year old Appel is an impressionable kid getting very bad advice. Will be interesting to follow this story through.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      $6M+ next year is worth far more than $3.8M this year. Time value of money + interest (how laughably low it is now) won’t make up the 2.2M difference. And considering the high flame out rate of prospects, that initial contract can be the only contract they receive.

      • ratflop - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        My point is that there is no guarantee that he goes first next year – there are now so many factors that in play now, not the least of which is injury.

        Don’t get me wrong, this could work out for him if he continues his success – but if he doesn’t then he stands to lose a lot more. A lot of pressure is now on him.

  16. jayquintana - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Rather than being a professional playing for $3.8 million, he’ll be an amateur playing for nothing. Okay…

    This guy is a Stanford student?

    • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Yes, and its obvious given his decision. He understands risk/reward. A top five pick next year nets him more than the Pirates offered by a substantial amount. A top three pick gets him at least as much as the Astros offered, potentially a couple million more.

      • ratflop - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        I don’t think he fully does. He could take 3.8 million now and potentially make millions in addition or nothing more at all. Or, he could take nothing now and potentially nothing later (lets say an injury or other tragic circumstance) leaving him with nothing. Yes, there is a decent chance it will work out for him – but the risk is not worth taking.

      • Reflex - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        His chance of making millions after the $3.8 he could have taken now are smaller than his chances of making more than $3.8 million in next year’s draft. Most prospects do not pan out. His chance of making more than $6 million in next year’s draft is also very high, probably better than 50%. He would only have to be drafted in the top three to accomplish that, and this year he was the consensus number one pick while next year’s class is expected to be worse.

        You are looking at it as “Wow, he is walking away from $3.8 million.” He is looking at it as “Geez, I would have to leave between $2.2-4 million on the table to accept this, and just hope that I am one of the very lucky few who makes the big time and then is a star with a career long enough to hit free agency.”

        There is no way he stands to gain by taking the Pirates offer, and short of major injury there is a good chance he gains even more next year.

  17. agc99 - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    The draft bonus system was changed because the Yankees and Redsox’s don’t want the pirates and small market teams to be able to compete. They want to go to the world series every year and use small market teams as their farm feeders. Look at the NFL, they get it. You have to have competitive balance where every team has the opportunity to win.

  18. dwrek5 - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Does anyone win here? Serious questions.
    Appel, no. Pirates, no (though I understand they get another pick), Boras, no. Stanford, maybe, but thats stretching it.

  19. randygnyc - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    When Appel didn’t sign with the Astros, it was a clear indication he wasn’t signing anywhere. The pirates didn’t have a chance. They knew it, but by drafting him, they guaranteed another top 10 pick next year, regardless of where they finish this season. As already stated, things can go terribly wrong, be it mechanical issues, injury etc. and it’s not impossible the same circumstances are duplicated next year. Who’s to say the Astros don’t have the first pick next year. And pass, again. And he drops, again. This time, with no plan B.

  20. downhillrider - Jul 13, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    pittsburgh or palo alto.. hmm what a tough decision.

    • florida76 - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      Pittsburgh has it all over Palo Alto, for many reasons. First, Appel is taking a major risk he won’t get hurt or have a subpar season. Second, it’s pure speculation about the strength of next years draft, and Appel could be selected by another team he doesn’t like. Third, he just threw away a year of paid professional development. Fourth, he passed up the chance to eventually play for an up and coming organization in a pitcher friendly park.

      As a Pirates fan, I’m fine with the additional picks next year, Appel wasn’t at the level as Gerrit Cole, and the Pirates have other strong prospects in the system.

  21. ddmcd1974 - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    I think Appel made the right decision. The pirates made a bad decision by tying to draft him for two reasons 1. Wasted pick 2. Appel is garbage. He isnt half the pitcher of say Bauer or holtzen. I’ll bet my house that Appel goes after pick 10 next year. You will see this when Stanford’s younger arms take over next year and he is relegated to 3rd starter. Watch.

    • jrbdmb - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      So if Appel is garbage then how did he make the “right decision” turning down an easy $3.8M?

      And as everyone else seems to know Pirates didn’t waste a pick, they’ll get it back next year.

  22. ddmcd1974 - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    He made the right decision based on the idea of what he thinks he is worth. Obviously I think he is so overrated.

  23. rcali - Jul 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Dude must love taking tests. Hope he studies hard because he’s one elbow problem away from a whole new career.

  24. rockthered1286 - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Anybody else want to see him fall to the Pirates next year and they ring Boras’ phone with an offer HALF of the slot value and laugh hysterically as they hang up on him? Arrogance is one bad mamajama and Appel is about to learn an important lesson.

    Ps- mark my words Appel will NOT be #1 pick next year.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM

      There’s a whole hell of a lot wrong with this, but the fact that Pittsburgh can’t draft him again next year without his consent kind of cuts off the rest.

  25. charlutes - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Unproven kid turns down 6 million dollars and takes a year of uncertainty and injury risk because he could have been offered 7.8? Sounds like a dooooooochbag

    • Kevin S. - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      Um, you do know that he was never offered $6 million, and if he had been offered $6 million, the Astros would have been in violation of MLB’s rules, right? Nobody knows for sure what Appel’s bonus demands were, but he was never offered anything more than Pittsburgh’s final offer.

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