MLB Rumors: Mark Appel Leaning Against Signing With Pittsburgh Pirates

By Tom Froemming

Mark Appel was widely considered the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick. When the Houston Astros passed on the Stanford Cardinal ace, the next six teams already had their picks lined up.

The junior right-hander fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who decided to take the risk of a difficult negotiation and pick Appel at No. 8. Now, the Pirates are starting to see why the 20-year-old fell so far.

Word is Appel is not satisfied with the Pirates’ offer, and is considering returning to Stanford for his senior season.

With the new draft slotting system, the eighth pick was budgeted to receive a $2.9 million bonus. Each team has a pot of money it can use on its first 10 picks. Pittsburgh has freed up additional funds, meaning they can offer Appel a $3.84 million bonus. If they go over that figure, they’ll have to forfeit their first-round pick in 2013.

With the Pirates offering literally every dollar they possibly can, Appel’s only other real option would be to return to college and enter the 2013 draft. With Scott Boras as his “advising” agent, I wouldn’t bet against Appel walking away from the money.

The rumor was the Astros were going to offer Appel a $6 million bonus if they selected him first overall, but he turned them down since the top pick was slotted for $7.2 million. The Pirates knew they were taking a big risk in selecting Appel, but they should stand their ground.

Pittsburgh has until Friday at 5 p.m. ET to get Appel signed. It should be interesting to see how this plays out, as this could set the tone for similar negotiations for future drafts.

This is already the second time Appel has been drafted, as the Detroit Tigers selected him out of high school with in the 15th round of the 2009 Draft. He took his scholarship to Stanford instead. He went 10-2 with a 2.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 9.51 K/9 for the Cardinal in 2012.

For more baseball coverage from, check out the Bringing Heat blog, MLB Rumors page and Tom Froemming’s writer profile.

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