Too bad Appel didn't sign.
Appel, a Scott Boras client, decided that he would return to Stanford for his senior year. This leaves the Pirates with next year's #9 pick. The recommended slot money for his spot was $2.9 million in bonus money. He rejected $3.8 million in Pittsburgh's offer.
Now that is $3.8 million in guaranteed, up-front cash. That's a lot of money for an unproven college kid, but it wasn't enough for him and Boras, who never seemed all that serious about signing with Pittsburgh anyway. Appel thought he'd go first, scared off Houston, and fell to eighth. He was hoping to get much higher money, but knew the small-market Pirates would never pay that. Hence, here we are.
Boras has a tendency to do this, and frankly I think it's bad for the sport. I'd like to see MLB put an actual cap on the bonus at a slot, not a "recommendation," in the next CBA. How in the world can an small-market team rebuild with Boras extracting ransoms like this, a million over slot, and still saying no? Should they all just stay away from his clients? Great, so the best agent, who would presumably get some of the best talent, is now off limits to teams who have to stick to a budget. This is why MLB's draft is still not on the level of the drafts in other sports.