NASHVILLE — Agent Scott Boras said the Pirates never had much chance from the start of signing Mark Appel, their first-round draft pick, but the team’s paramilitary-style training methods were not a factor. Appel rejected the Pirates’ $3.8 million offer and instead returned to Stanford for his senior season. He was the only first-rounder who didn’t sign with his team last summer.
“When you make decisions like that in the draft, they’re huge decisions,” Boras said tonight during a huddle with reporters at the winter meetings. “There was no communication with us (before the draft). We would’ve been happy to have given them an advance (notice) that they could’ve used their pick in (another) way. We certainly would’ve let them know we didn’t have a fit there. These players have options when you have that kind of talent. That was an unfortunate event for all of us.”
Boras said he had concerns about the Navy SEALs-styled training techniques used by the Pirates. “The health and safety of players — and I’m talking about great players because Pittsburgh drafts very high — is important,” Boras said. “If you’re a parent or a ballplayer, you make an analysis of what’s going on in every organization, as far as what they’re doing and what they’re committed to doing to preserve and advance the interests of the player. I think when you go to practices that are untested and that are certainly not the norm, it’s going to raise a level of concern. You want to be fair with every team, with how you evaluate them. But the benefits and detriments certainly need to be looked at.” Boras paused and smiled. “My understanding is they decided to do away with the K-rations,” he said.