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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Bud blows it … on behalf of Boston


DAYTON, Ohio — Brief and to the Point …

>> The Tuesday feature from Indianapolis is Rudy Owens. There’s also a video there, and you’ll notice he does some mugging at the beginning. That’s because Bryan Morris was egging him on.

>> Well, Bud Selig, you got what you wanted.

Or was it what the Red Sox wanted after whining about losing Josh Bell? The Pirates, one of the teams you’re still pretending to protect from economic imbalance, took the most talented player in the draft, Stanford righty Mark Appel. But instead of just engaging Scott Boras in fair talks, as they did with Pedro Alvarez, they’re now subject to all kinds of penalties if they meet the kid’s likely price.

Because that’s making things fair.

>> This column from November suddenly takes on a fresh life.

>> Agonize all you want over the next month, but know that Boras’ clients get signed.

>> Oh, and let’s not waste two seconds analyzing this kid because of the statement issued in his name last night. I’m sure Appel saw it. I’m sure he signed off. But if he wrote that, then I penned the Magna Carta.

>> If you’re confused about the new draft rules and caps, here’s a thorough explanation from Baseball America’s Jim Callis.

>> The Los Angeles Kings are just beyond belief.

This might be worth a step back for the broader picture: This is a No. 8 seed that barely qualified for a 16-team playoff, then beat — in order, the No. 1-seeded Canucks, No. 2-seeded Blues and No. 3-seeded Coyotes before taking this 3-0 lead on the Devils. They’ve been up, 3-0, in all four series so far. I don’t remember that ever happening. They’ve played two games above the minimum, and neither of those two losses meant a thing.

This just doesn’t happen.

>> Anze Kopitar is the sun, the moon and the stars. See for yourself.

>> I love the Penguins’ net gain of Tomas Vokoun, probably more than I should.

We all can get skewed by what we see with our own eyes, versus the broader picture, and my impression — before looking it up — was that Vokoun has played some very good hockey against Pittsburgh over the years. Then, upon looking it up, I found a blah 9-10-2 record, a good 2.50 GAA against the Penguins, and an excellent .937 save percentage. In fact, that last number is tied for his fourth-best against any opponent.

So, he has been good when we’ve paid the most attention.

It won’t offend me, either, to see Marc-Andre Fleury get pushed a little. Brent Johnson didn’t do that. Ty Conklin didn’t do that. And no, Brad Thiessen wasn’t about to do that. Vokoun will.

>> Good for Michel Therrien. Good man, good coach. And he knows a little French.

But hey, what’s the French for “soff?”


>> I’m driving down to Cincinnati today to cover the Pirates and Reds.


  1. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:


    Thanks for saying what I’ve been saying about this nonsensical slotting system. It doesn’t balance anything out. It merely keeps the financially lesser-able teams in line with what the big money teams want to do. If the Yankees can pay $100 million for their infield then why shouldn’t the Pirates be allowed to spend $14 million in the draft? It is TRULY a joke.

    Love the Vokoun deal too.

    DK: Amazing, isn’t it?

  2. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    The 3 other major sports leagues all have a salary cap of some sort meant to level the basic playing field, and help out teams residing in smaller markets. Sure there are differences in revenue for all 4 major sports leagues (TV contracts and etc.). But only in baseball to you find a league and a commissioner that wholeheartedly embraces economic imbalance amongst its franchises, and goes out of its way to promote that imbalance as often as possible.

    A hard salary cap for all MLB teams? Preposterous says the Commissioner.

    A hard salary cap on the First Year Player Draft and International Signings? Pushed and passed by the Commissioner.

    Simply and truly amazing.

  3. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    Playoffs, great point.

    I’d be all for a draft slotting system in a league with a fair salary cap and revenue system. That scenario would be similar to the NFL where teams win based on their ability, as an organization, to evaluate and hire coaches as well as evaluate talent and address needs in the draft (i.e. Steelers & Patriots). The winningest organizations are the best at what they do rather than spending more anyone else.

  4. Mike C. says:

    I know there’s a lot of things wrong with the NBA, but they got one thing right.
    A Hard-Slotted rookie salary scale system.
    the length should be probably lengthened for the MLB, but you don’t hear of rookie hold outs like the NFL or MLB.
    no fuss, no muss

  5. Boise Bucco says:

    I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here and defend Bud Selig…just for a second!

    So, looking back at “Moneyball,” it was a concept adopted by the small-market Oakland Athletics. Great, right? Well, it didn’t take long, and now EVERYBODY’s doing it. Maybe not to the extent that the A’s are, but every team, right down to the Yankees and Red Sox are looking for sabermetric data to build their club.

    Now, apply this to the way the Pirates have been drafting the last couple of years–showing the money to hard-to-sign high schoolers, way over-slot.

    Just because the Red Sox and the Yankees aren’t doing it doesn’t mean they’re not CAPABLE of it, and maybe this is what Bud Selig was trying to prevent.

    Say this rule didn’t get passed, and Josh Bell goes supernova and turns into the second coming of Albert Pujols. I know I am assuming a lot here, but hey, this is what we want, right? Well, now, Bell is on every episode of SportsCenter, and you know that they’re gonna play up the whole “56 (or whatever) teams passed on this guy” just like they do for Pujols every now and then.

    How long do you think the Yankees and Red Sox are going to look at that before they start throwing REAL money at the draft, to the point that the Pirates can’t keep up there either?

    The way I see it, since they’ll never have a cap on the big-league rosters, capping the amateur draft was the next logical move. It sucks that it closes a loop-hole the Bucs were able to capitalize on, but it would be inevitably worse if the bigger-market clubs would’ve caught on before they capped it.

    DK: The capability argument is an excellent one, BB. Totally valid.

    I have my own counter to it, but I’d rather others have their say first.

  6. JW says:

    How does this hurt the Pirates? Or any other team?

    When David DeCastro fell to 24th, he couldn’t demand that the steelers pay him 13th pick money. Similarly, Appel is going to have to take an 8th pick contract if he wants to sign. Maybe the Bucs can’t blow Josh Bell away with a huge bonus any more, but they also don’t have to take Tony Sanchez because he’s affordable. Now it’s about drafting the best player on the board, not about how much you are or aren’t willing to pay.

  7. Zivkov34 says:

    Bear with me on this… So maybe Appell dropped to us because teams were shying away on the belief Scott Boras will try to take as much of the cash allotment under the new (asinine) system by whichever team drafted him… So, if you know Boras is going to ask for the moon, it stands to reason that you know you may only be able to sign about three players out of your top 10 without incurring penalties. So here’s my loophole idea if you want to call it that – Draft the three or so guys you truly want, then reach for Boras clients with every other pick. Make him accountable when he has to look the parents of said clients in the eye and tell them he ‘had’ their sons best interests when they signed or “advised” with him… but, sorry the top guy took all this drafting teams allotment. If these are the new rules, play the game. Maybe in the future (as the pretense of this new system seems to have been created under) parents and players will see that Boras only has the best interests of his highest commissioned clients…

  8. Drew71 says:

    Hey Magna Kovacevic – This may be the last time in a generation that the Pirates can grab the best guy in the draft. I hope. I say they should pull a Mike Ditka, give up the draft picks if they need to, sign the kid and go fishing.

    Is that crazy, even for me?

  9. Jandy says:

    Hey guys, from the Allie thread yesterday…I know I was prolly gettin on someone’s nerves, but hey, I DID read that Allie played shortstop in HS…from our own DK and 24/7:
    “Allie didn’t try pitching until his senior year of high school, when he went 9-1 with a 1.51 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 60 innings. As a senior, he batted .500 with 14 doubles, three home runs and 32 RBI. As a junior, he played third base and shortstop and batted .450 with seven homers and 37 RBI.”
    Here’s the link:

    Maybe the BMTIB wants him to play 3rd, and that’s fine with me. I’d just give him a try at SS too, as we need someone there.

  10. Thundercrack says:

    Very nice article (and video) on Owens. I’m pulling for the kid, but I STILL can’t believe that after the Pirates told him to be ready to compete for a spot on the big club he STILL showed up with his arm not ready.

    It will be interesting to see how Boras, or other agents, use the ‘threat of penalties’ to their advantage.

  11. Jandy says:

    Therrien will make the Canadiens respectble again.
    The more I think about Pens’ signing Vokoun, the more I like it.

    The Kings rock! DK’s new favorite player is a stud!

  12. JAL says:

    JAL’s Something’s Gotta Give Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Draft Day Two Preview

    Zack Von Rosenberg Joins West Virginia

  13. JAL says:

    7 McEffect

    My Late and Meaningless Take on Tonight’s MLB Draft

    8 Green Weenie

    Appel Falls To Pirates

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Buckle up: Bucs grab Mark Appel at #8

    10 Why Gavs

    Pirates draft Mark Appel with eighth overall pick


    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Reds Game Preview

  14. JAL says:

    12 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds look for payback vs. Pirates

    13 Charleston Daily Mail

    Power’s Benedict overcoming draft expectations

    14 Sports Illustrated

    Astros take Correa at No. 1, Appel slips to No. 8, impact of new rules

    15 Sporting News

    MLB Draft 2012: Day 1 breakdown; Astros surprise with Carlos Correa

  15. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers News Bulletin: LeBeau vs. Belichick

    The Early Case for the Steelers Success in 2012

    Hating on Athletes And Teams and The Crisis In Which Fans Are Engaged

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Roethlisberger Needs His Underdog Mentallity To Get Through Feelings Of Lack Of Confidence In Him

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    Steelers MMQB: NFL Offseason News

  16. JAL says:


    27 Sky Sports

    Chelsea confirm Hazard deal

    28 Daily Telegraph

    Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson’s reputation on line as debate over Rio Ferdinand’s England omission rages on

    29 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, June 1 2012


    30 Pensburgh

    UPDATE: Pens Acquire Goalie Tomas Vokoun from Caps for 7th round pick…SIGN him to 2 year contract

  17. JAL says:

    Something’s Gotta Give, Johnny Mercer. Sammy Davis Jr. version. Mercer was one of the top songwriters from the 1930s into the 1960s.

  18. Jandy says:

    JAL’s home :)

  19. Meglasdad says:

    Just scanned over the BA cap explanation, so maybe I missed this. Can a team spend what it wants on picks 11-20? And if so, theoretically, wouldn’t it possibly better to be drafted 11-20 instead of say 6-10? If there is no money left for these players, a team can’t sign them apparently. Also, what happens to these players who teams can’t sign? Do they go back into the draft next year? This could really kill any MLB hopes some college seniors have, since they would have few options to continue playing ball until next years draft.
    As for the earlier argument about Yankees and Red Sox throwing huge sums of money to picks like they do free agents, they could still only throw that money at players they drafted. The rest would still have to sign with the team that drafted them or go back into the draft next year I guess.

  20. Milo Hamilton says:


    Love Sam. That song was also featured on the 1959 album “Come Dance With Me”. Frank Sinatra’s 1st collaboration with Pittsburgh’s own Billy May.

  21. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    Boise Bucco…

    You have a point regarding “capability”. The counterargument lies in the innate advantages of bigger spending teams to pluck established talent away from financially lesser able team. Yes, teams like the Yankees could, in theory, throw larger sums of money into the draft pool but the draft pool is severely limited. Most baseball people seem to believe that if you get 3 to 5 major-league caliber players out of a given draft then the draft is considered a great success while in most years only one or two realistically become everyday players. That bears the question, why would the Yankees want to throw their financial advantage into such an unreliable resource? They don’t want to be forced to give up their ability to strong-arm teams for known commodities at the major-league level (i.e. trade prospects for players that everyone knows will command a high price tag). So, yes, they have the capability. However, they have a much greater in advantage at the major-league level. Draft slotting without a salary cap just reinforces that advantage.

  22. Turner Ward says:

    @Boise – the reason the slotting doesn’t matter is we’re talking chump change in relation to the money paid to the Fielders and Pujols’ of the world. Why would the Red Sox spend $2 million extra to sign a hard-to-sign high schooler, spend 5 years developing him, investing all that time in making sure he succeeds, if they can just throw $120 million at Adrian Gonzalez AFTER the Padres make the time investment?

    The reason they won’t do that is it doesn’t make business sense for them. Their risk will be limited because the Pirates, Padres and Brewers of the world will develop these guys, prove who can play, and then the Red Sox and Yankees swoop in and pay them.

    @DK – thank you for being, really, the ONLY voice in the media still harping on this issue. It is a relevant one, and a shame that it just gets ignored.

  23. NMR says:


    “Just because the Red Sox and the Yankees aren’t doing it doesn’t mean they’re not CAPABLE of it, and maybe this is what Bud Selig was trying to prevent.”

    Except that the Yankees and Red Sox DO draft overslot players. The Red Sox current and future 3rd baseman, Will Middlebrooks, was drafted overslot in the 5th round and given $1m not to go to college. The reason you don’t hear about big market teams making the news is because the overslot money is still a proverbial drop in their bucket. Very few fans of a team with a $175m payroll are going to bat an eyelash at signing an 18yo kid from Podunkville, USA for a million bucks.

    Which points out just how ridiculous of an effort in futility this whole slotting garbage happens to be.

    p.s. Absolutely love Boise. Great American city.

  24. NMR says:

    Fair weather/Turner,

    Your points would seem to be valid, except that the Yankees and Red Sox DO play the overslot game.

    Even they understand the value of $1m now or $100m in the future.

  25. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    And before someone says, “if it’s such an unreliable resource than the pirate should be spending more money on the major-league roster”, even if the Pirates only spent $4 million in the draft and allocated the remaining 10 to the major-league roster then that buys only a mid-level free-agent at best. And that’s if you can get them to sign which, as everyone has seen, it’s tough for a small market team to do.

    Besides, what is fair about telling certain teams that it’s not okay for them to outspend another team by 25% in the draft but it’s okay for teams like the Yankees and Red Sox outspend other teams by 300 to 400% at the major-league level?

  26. Drew71 says:

    Continuing my give-up-the-picks rant…since the Astros are MORE likely to stink for several years, and the Pirates’ basement days may be behind them, the Appel pick and the possibility of losing/investing future picks makes less sense for Houston and may be a risk worth taking for Pittsburgh.

  27. Jandy says:

    I’m reading all the draft issues, then Turner Ward really makes things rather clear, the big money teams win all the time. All the more reason for a true salary cap as the NFL and NHL have. Can someone strong arm Bud Selig, and not in a nice way!

  28. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….I highly respect DK’s sources, but when his dad, his coach, says he only played 3b and 1b, I’m going with that.

    Of course, if we wanna put him at SS, I’m ok with that, too.



  29. Leefoo says:

    Let the Appel angst begin.

    I’ll take the #9 slot next year if he doesn’t sign.

    The Bucs won’t go over $3m. If Mark doesn’t like it, let him risk going back to school and going higher in a projected stronger draft.



  30. Jandy says:

    Foo-man, I know, and I agree his dad should know. But I sure as heck don’t want to make ou guys crazy when I’m here to learn all I can about the Buccos. And I KNEW I read that somewhere, didn’t make it up, about him playing SS. I may be old, but I’m not gone … yet! ;)
    Dittos on Appel. It will be what it will be.

  31. gregenstein says:

    Wasn’t Therrien the Habs coach once before? Regardless, I think he’s probably the right guy right now for them. He has a knack for turning around teams.

    I like the Vokoun signing, though it casts serious doubts on our ability to retain Jordan Staal in my opinion. Between Crosby’s soon to be $10 million-ish number and the $7 million for the goalies and the $8.7 million for Malkin, I don’t see how they could pay Staal again if Martin & Michalek are eating $9 million in cap room.

  32. SeanE says:

    DK-while I agree totally about the economic imbalance in baseball, I have a different take on the new draft rules. First, I agree with Boise Bucco that this is a copycat league. It was not going to be long before the Yankees and Red Sox were going to blow the budget on draft picks. What is an extra 10 million to those teams? If they miss, so what, they can afford it. If the Pirates miss, it sets them back in a major way. Did anybody really want to see a $15-$20 million dollar signing bonus for a 17 year old? That was the way things were headed. I don’t believe that was a sustainable system for teams like the Pirates.

    Secondly, and perhaps more significant, this was the FIRST time any type of cap on player wages was EVER imposed on player salaries. Maybe I am naive but taking a long term view of things might this be the first step toward some type of cap on player income? You gotta take baby steps before you can walk.

  33. NMR says:

    EXCELLENT choice of story, DK, and well done as always.

    Owens progress, along with Wilson, Morris, and Locke to degrees, have to be the minor league story of the year so far. Count me as one who wrote those guys off after disapointing seasons last year.

    I was surprised to hear that Owens is still just 24. Not young, by any means, but he has the feel of a guy who has been around forever.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Owens performs in July when Bedards trade opens up a spot in the rotation.

  34. Jandy says:

    gregenstein, I’ve read many opinions that the cap will likely increase a bit. While I can’t say for sure that it will (who can), that makes things a lot easier as far as signing Staal. I trust in Shero to get it done, as he has in the past. I still look for Martin to be moved. I’m willing to wait and see how it turns out, but meantime, I do like this signing.

  35. Milo Hamilton says:

    Batting for Pedro Borbon … Manny Mota.

  36. Jandy says:

    Milo, what took you so long?

  37. JohninOshkosh says:


    When reading stuff about player slot economics, I have to say, “I’ve got to concentrate…concentrate…concentrate.”

    Great points by all about the draft.

    @Jandy(#9) Even on your worst day, you are incapable of getting on my nerves.

  38. jackdeloplane says:


    Surely you can’t be serous…and stop calling me Shirley!

    An Appel today keeps the hitters away…from our draft board! Just kidding, love the pick


    I have nothing against Vokoun, I just wish the Pens weren’t in a position where they *had* to go out and sink another $2M per on a backup goaltender. I still think the Pens defensive approach needs some work, so until that time the Pens are going to need their goaltender to be one of their best players night in and night out. This was the second year in a row MAF clearly wasn’t one of the Pens best players in the post-season.

    If there are legitimate concerns within the organization over Fleury’s stamina down the stretch, it’s a bit troubling. His minutes and starts are in the top third of the league, but I’d expect that kind of workload for someone of his pedigree. Whether he needs to work on his endurance more in the offseason or work on making his technique more efficient I don’t know, but he’s got to find a better way of dealing with the demands of a number one goaltender if he plans to continue getting paid as one.

  40. sidelinespensfan says:

    -I’m not sure I see a downside for the Pirates pick. They end up taking a consensus No. 1 at the 8 slot, and have a prescribed amount of money that they are allowed to give him. It will be very easy for the BMTIB to offer him slot $ and nothing more, take it or leave it. Worst case is that the Bucs get 2 first round picks next year.

    -I love the Vokoun deal. I expect to see more of a 50-30 split in games next year insted of 60-20. With the push of Vokoun as a capable No. 1 and some extra rest, I see Fleury regaining top form.

  41. Tom says:

    Boras and other agents are the ONLY people in this whole thing with the player’s best economic interests at heart. Without guys like him we are back to the era of owners pushing a contract across the desk and saying, “Here. Sign.” Players are chattel, and once signed are treated as such. They have one, and only one, opportunity to counter that, and they need to maximize that chance. SI did a great story on Boras, maybe a dozen years ago. It’s worth looking up and reading, just to get some balance.

    Huntington showed a little bit of his hand, perhaps for strategic purposes, when he said that the worst outcome for the Bucs is #9 next year in a deeper draft. Hey, we were expecting a no-hit shortstop; not signing Appel is like wasting your #8 pick this year on Mario Mendoza, and being rewarded with an extra shot next year. Or, you sign Appel at the highest number you can stand and next year goes on as normal. Both work.

  42. TJA says:

    Isn’t time for Bud Selig to retire? Like it’s way past due. Who would be a good candidate to replace him?

  43. Jandy says:

    TJA, I just wish Selig would go away, I don’t care how he does it :p

    Replacement? Pete Rose! (Had to)

  44. Milo Hamilton says:


    Frank Coonelly. Tomorrow. Please.

  45. Chuck Snow says:

    Crazy: That’s what I Think of the new slot system. Where are all the small market teams in this?. This rule has to hurt more teams then it helps. What did they hold over their heads for that vote? Revenue sharing?

  46. JohninOshkosh says:


    Bud Selig has morphed into someone(thing) that might be featured on a certain AMC show Dejan likes.

    How about Billy Beane. Young, adaptive, intelligent, willing to surround himself with quality people and not interested in “yes” men. Also, unlike Selig, he might not forget that he comes from a small market with a passionate fan base.

  47. Jandy says:

    OshKoshB’Gosh, thanks, friend, you’ve made my day =)

  48. Leefoo says:

    Dejan….loved the article on Rudy. Now let’s trade him for the best bat we can get.



  49. cosmo says:

    I don’t see Vokoun as strictly a backup. More of a 1A.

  50. NMR says:

    Interesting take on the Appel signability situation in JAL’s #16 link from Yahoo…

    They point out that with these new draft spending rules gives agents like Boras a target, $7.2m for #1 overall, regardless of how good the player actually is. If teams feel a given player is #1, but not necessarily worth that money, then it makes sense to draft a player that is talented, yet figures to command less bonus money.

    By all accounts, there was far from a consensus best player in this years draft and certainly no Strasburgs, Harpers, or even Coles. It seems logical that teams were scared off by the prospect of having Boras demand more money than his client is worth and being forced to pay him. Can you imagine if any of the top 3 teams werent able to sign their top draft pick?

    Now, it would seem that the league has spoken and deemed Boras’ demands unjust. He’s not an idiot. I’m sure he knows that the chances of Appel topping his results from this past season and improving his stock in a more talented draft class next year are slim to none.

    My guess is that Appel signs for under $4m.

  51. cosmo says:

    Just saw a report that the PBC is recalling Alex Presley for tonights game in Cincy.
    Hinted that Tabata may go on DL.

  52. TJA says:

    Re: Selig….Tomorrow for ANYONE…don’t care who. I just want Selig gone and someone who cares about the sport and will remember the FANS! Us fans sadly don’t have much of a say in that vote for commish…

  53. Milo Hamilton says:

    The only way this system is going to work is for teams to stand their ground in negotiations & some of these guys don’t sign. The hammer that the teams have is to tell the player to go away & take a similar pick next year. Short term pain for long term gain. If this starts happening on a semi-regular basis, the agents will get the message.

  54. cosmo says:

    @ Milo

    Well said, It makes sense to me. Take it or leave it.

  55. JUCOFan says:

    The draft cap protects the owners from themselves. Nutting is not opposed because he no longer will spend above slot and that will return $10 million per year to his pocket. At the end of the day, this is a business more than it is a game. And you measure businesses by return on capital not wins and losses!

  56. Bizrow says:

    My understanding is, if you don’t sign, say your 3rd round pick, then the money allotted to that slot is removed from your “pool”.

    So if the PBC signs Appel for say 4 million, they have to sign other players for less, to make up for the 1.1 million overspending on him. Its not like you can just give Appel all of your “pool” because by not signing the other 10 players, you lose that slotted money.

    This is going to be very interesting frieds….

  57. JUCOFan says:

    IMHO, the Yankees and Sox, while capable, would never enter the draft bidding war. Why? Because they are throwing all of their dollars toward signing proven players. It’s less risky and has an immediate return. Even if Josh Bell goes supernova in 5 years, that wouldn’t change their approach.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    You know at first I thought they drafted Marty Appel & were going to convert him to PR director.

  59. CDBrewer says:

    Hey all,
    I am also a little worried about signing Appel, but I really don’t see how it doesn’t happen, and we can be pretty firm with price…
    If Appel doesn’t sign:
    1.) he gets a year older and he is already a college pitcher
    2.) he logs another big inning year for bigtime baseball program
    3.) he has proven himself to be difficult to sign (which won’t help his slot)
    4.) he has to repeat/improve on GREAT numbers
    5.) he risks an injury (one for which he would be paid if he signs AND the team would take care of medical bills in the best way possible)

    This year’s offer will be as good as next year’s even if it is right at slot, and more teams need to see this with players.
    Let him go play in the international league or at Stanford next year, it is a HUGE risk for him, not the Bucs.
    Boras isn’t dumb (evil, not dumb), he’ll sign.

  60. NMR says:

    @JUCO – Red Sox 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks was overslot. Solid proof that even big money teams spend on the draft.

    The reason their overall draft spending is below teams like the Pirates, Nationals, and Royals is a matter of position. Picks #1-5 are inherently going to cost more than #25-30.

  61. NMR says:

    @Milo, re: #55

    You’re logic is true, but I can’t realistically see agents being dumb enough to do that with college players.

    They don’t make money unless their client signs. Period.

    Scott Boras is smart enough to see the writing on the wall. He has to understand that the chances of a guy like Appel vaulting up to #1, where the difference in money would actually be appreciable, are far from likely. At this point, what can Appel do to improve his draft stock? Are scouts really going to be blown away by seeing him lower his ERA against college hitters?

    Now, if Appel was a senior in high school instead of a senior in college, the tables are turned completely.

  62. AJS says:

    Stupid slotting rules aside, I love that they had the guts to take Appel. Slot is $2.9mil and they have a total budget of $6.6mil. If I understand corectly they can spend upto 20% above that without losing picks. They would have to pay dollar for dollar penalties on part of the extra spending.

    Appel will have to accept he isn’t going to get the #1 slot money of $7mil. Maybe the Bucs pay him $5mil. They would still have another $2.8mil to spend in the next several rounds without losing picks. That would set there spending in the capped rounds to $6.6+$1.2+$1.2(penalty.) That’s 9mil spent. That’s not that far out of line of what they have been willing to spend in the past. Given they won’t be able to go after that superstar who claims he is going to college until he is shown the cash,but it hardly hampers their ability to draft a marquee player that happens to fall to them like Appel.

    If I am a small market team I spend as much money as I am allowed to before I start losing picks. Maximize the talent you can pick under the rules available.

  63. Don says:


    the exception, not the rule.

  64. Turner Ward says:

    I wonder if fans in other cities are berating their GMs for being afraid of Boras. You know that would be going on here, even though NH has worked with him successfully multiple times now.

  65. Bizrow says:


    Check out the link Dejan gave us on the rules for spending, I don’t think we can go over by 20%

    And if we don’t sign a guy, we lose the allotment for that slot.

  66. pattonbb says:

    I think Dejan made a great point when he mentioned that Boras’ clients get signed, regardless to how much of a pain in the rear he seems to be.

    I was referring to Boras as a pain in the rear, not Dejan.


  67. Nate says:

    Appel will sign. If he fails to, the single lost year of potential free agent earnings will far exceed the difference of $1.5-3M between what the Pirates will offer him overslot and what he could have received as the #1 or #2 pick.

    And he if doesn’t sign, the Pirates get 2 first round picks in a much deeper draft next year. Win-win situation for the Pirates.

  68. radio wave says:

    at sidelines #43
    Thanks for the clarification of what would happen if they don’t get the kid signed.
    Drew’s right, it might be worth it to pass this one up and take the picks in next years stronger draft.
    Because this year’s draft is considered weak, how does Appel compare to Cole of last year?
    And is there any indication that the Bucs will look for bats today?
    How many rounds are there in total?
    How many rounds today?
    Will the Trib have an online location to track today’s picks?

  69. NMR says:


    “The biggest differences will likely come later in the draft, where the Red Sox have traditionally flexed their financial clout to sign players who otherwise may go to college.”

    What are your sources that say the Red Sox don’t spend over slot? Do you follow Red Sox baseball or are you just making a general statement without any actual facts?

  70. NMR says:

    “Overview: The Red Sox signed Jacobs to a huge over-slot bonus to lure him away from a future as the Auburn running back.”

  71. NMR says:

    Google is your friend.

  72. steelercrazy says:


    Per your Mike Ditka strategy, the Pirates have 6.65M in bonus money to spend on their first 10 picks ONLY if they sign all 10 picks. If they don’t sign their 2nd round pick (#45), for instance, who has an allocated budgeted amount of $1,136,400, that amount is deducted from their top-10 pick budget. That would leave the Bucs 5.43M in bonus money for Appel and picks 3-10.

    BTW, love the Appel pick by the Buccos. Even Boras knows he’s operating in an alternate universe now, as wiggle room is extremely limited. Also, Spock is a mean, backstabbing Vulcan here and must be accounted for at all times.

  73. Karen22 says:

    Gotta say it. This thread is all about comparing Appels to oranges…

  74. NMR says:

    “•The Yankees signed Greg Bird for $1.1MM, according to Zoodig, an athlete digital media platform, on Twitter. The Yankees signed sixth rounder Jake Cave for $825K, according to Callis (on Twitter). The Yankees also signed third rounder Jordan Cote for $725K, according to Callis. The high school right-hander has a fastball in the 90 mph range and stands 6’5″. Earlier today, the Yankees signed 20th round pick and high school lefty Daniel Camarena for $335K, tweets Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA.”

    Ok, you get the point. No more.

  75. NMR says:

    Pleased to see the blog has shown comedic prudence by refraining from any “draft a pitcher and make him a first baseman jokes”.

    Apple puns, on the other hand, are flat-out hilarious! Bravo, Karen.

  76. JHadar says:

    I think the only effect that the new draft system will have, once the agents figure it out, is smaller bonuses offset by larger, and I do mean larger, minor league salaries with guaranteed contracts.

    The MLB owners have a tremendous way of shooting themselves in the foot. The only answer is a salary cap and they are too (fill in the blank yourself) to admit they NEED it.

  77. Milo Hamilton says:


    I thought about it, but I thought those had already run their course. It’s all about timing. And besides, I’m trying to be less snide.

  78. Bizrow says:


    Good point, stuff like being put on the 40 man roster, so this $$ is only for the signing bonus?

  79. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    We can all forget about even asking or talking about a salary cap, it will not and never will happen in MLB.

    This slotted system to me, is a way to shut down the direction that the draft was heading, much like what the NFL did. We won’t see the ridiculous bonuses and contract demands that was starting to take over the drafted players.

    Look at this way, in the NFL, players are signing a lot faster and more reasonable prices, perhaps (John Wehner) this is the idea MLB had when establishing these rules.

    Perhaps (jw) this will get the players signed faster and in the system this year.

  80. NMR says:

    snideliness is next to godliness…


    “Look at this way, in the NFL, players are signing a lot faster and more reasonable prices, perhaps (John Wehner) this is the idea MLB had when establishing these rules.”

    If that was the idea, then the execution was god-awful. I’m all for the hard-slotting system in the NFL, but thats nowhere near what the MLB has.

  81. NMR says:

    The players will get signed faster, but only because the new CBA moved the signing deadline up by a month.

    I’d be shocked if Appel signed an hour before midnight.

  82. NMR says:

    Oh yeah, I’m not a fan of this system. Just wanted to make that crystal. :)

  83. cmat0829 says:

    I see two things that are good about the draft changes:

    1) The Pirates will likely never not draft the best player available in their slot because the range they can pay the pick is pretty much set. Makes negotiations a lot simpler. Yes, they can be pushed to go “over slot” but they also have more leverage in that they can just not sign the player, pick up another pick, etc.

    2) Agents will have to think about the strategy of refusing to sign and having player go back into draft the next year…. the slot system will be in place the next year and that is a huge risk for a player (injury, performance decline, more competitive draft, etc.) …more risk than reward for the player to sit out a year and try it again the next year.

    In terms of the ability to go over slot beyond round 1, yes, the overall budget does limit that but in my view other teams (including Yanks, Red Sox, et al) have used that tactic WAY MORE than the Pirates have traditionally.

  84. Jandy says:

    Karen, that was priceless!!! You’re giving Milo competition ;)

  85. mayhay22 says:

    2nd Round Pick

    Wyatt Mathisen, C, Corpus Christi, committed to University of Texas

    Has played all around the diamond but figures to profile best at C.

  86. Jandy says:

    wow a utility player :)

  87. NMR says:


    “1) The Pirates will likely never not draft the best player available in their slot because the range they can pay the pick is pretty much set. Makes negotiations a lot simpler. Yes, they can be pushed to go “over slot” but they also have more leverage in that they can just not sign the player, pick up another pick, etc.”

    “The Pirates, one of the teams you’re still pretending to protect from economic imbalance, took the most talented player in the draft, Stanford righty Mark Appel.” – DK

    Wasn’t the point of DK’s blog to state that your #1 assumption just got blown out of the water?

    The Pirates just took the guy that was projected to be #1 with the 8th pick. That makes the seven teams before them equivalent to when the Pirates drafted Tony Sanchez in ’09.

    The Pirates drafting of Tony Sanchez is the poster child of what the new system is supposed to prevent.


  88. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I agree, its not a hard system, that’s where the MLB screwed up. The difference between the 2 commissioners. One is hard-nosed the other is….the walking dead.

  89. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Pirates sure like stealing players away from Texas….

  90. radio wave says:

    at mayhay
    Thanks for the info on the 2nd round choice.
    Is he committed to UT for baseball or football?
    And the fact he’s a catcher brings up another interesting point.
    Listening to the draft projections last night , the “experts” were saying the Bucs were going to draft a catcher with their pick. That was before the top eight draft order was rearranged by the Astros.
    On the same day that former #1 Sanchez moves up to triple A, I was wondering why a catcher?
    Now they use #2 on a catcher, and the “signability” of their #1 is in doubt.
    What does this say about Sanchez?
    A career minor leaguer??

  91. Pants-n-at says:

    Whether it be Cole last year or if we sign Appel at a fair value for the slot we had, we’ll have “stolen” 2 players from the big boys. Seems only fitting for the Pirates to steal players. All you have to do is look at how we got our name so I hope they both pan out. Even our supplemental pick was ranked higher than where he was drafted. If he pans out……for us or in a trade down the road…we’ll truly be “Pirates” over the last few years with our decisions. All I can do is hope!

  92. mayhay22 says:

    He’ll play C. Just mentioned the other positions thing because the guys on indicated he’d also played SS and P. But they’re drafting him solely as a C.

    I do think they’re light on C prospects on the lower end of the organization. I don’t think this reflects on Sanchez much at all, as this kid is 5+ years behind Sanchez developmentally.

    Baseball America had him ranked #47 overall and we took him at #69. No idea about his “signability”.

  93. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I think its too early to say that about TS. As you pointed out, he just got promoted to AAA. He’s moving up, not down at this point in his career.

    I’ve read in the past, that TS has MLB ready defense, just waiting for his bat to catch up. He was hot prior to the promotion. I suspect that he will digress at first, but hope that he catches up to the more talented pitching at AAA. He has the possibility to be a Sept call up or if there is an injury to one of the catchers on the team later on in the summer.

  94. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    My question is on Appel. What is too close to the big leagues mean? Next year? 2014?

    Loving the looks of the 2014 starting rotation….whoa.

  95. NMR says:


    The Cubs #1 pick last year was a shortstop. They also have some Castro guy.

    MLB teams rarely draft for need.

  96. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I don’t mean to sound like Roberto in any way, shape or form, but I’m with Ryan. We need to cut Sanchez a break (no pun intended). He’s had some setbacks physically and made some dumb decisions, but to call him a bust is way premature. I saw him right after he was drafted and his defense was good then. That’s the main ingredient for a catcher these days, right? A .270 average would make him a star.

  97. Mathew Watt says:


    Back to the debate being a niche sport. I love hockey and love the Kings…but here is further proof hockey is a niche sport. Game 2, Stanley Cup Finals, on NBC Saturday (the “real” NBC) finished 66th in ratings. Reruns of Cougartown and Dog the Bounty Hunter beat game 2 of the NHLs championship. That’s absurd. You would NEVER see an NBA, NFL or MLB game finish 66th. Heck, even soccer would do better.

  98. Jandy says:

    Lucky, you couldn’t come across like Roberto if you tried for a month of Sundays :)

  99. Jandy says:

    Uh-oh…Mathew Watt said that “s” word! ;X

  100. PhillyPoke says:


    How long do you think the Yankees and Red Sox are going to look at that before they start throwing REAL money at the draft, to the point that the Pirates can’t keep up there either?

    The issue is that the Pirates still draft the player. They have exclusive rights to signing that player. It’s not like the Big Market teams can throw money at someone the Pirates draft. If the player doesn’t want to accept the Pirates offer then he waits a year and the Pirates get compensated for not signing their draft pick. Free agency is unfair because the big market teams can go after anyone they want and price out the competition.

    The very nature of the draft levels the playing field by creating exclusivity.

    DK: OK, I’ll finally jump in on this here: Every point about how the Yankees and Red Sox eventually would blow away teams like the Pirates is completely valid. Indisputable. Something DID need to be done.

    But what needed to be done wasn’t this. What needed to be done was to install a system that allowed teams in the draft to OVERCOME the inherent disadvantage they face in major-league payroll economics. If you’re going to be imbalanced at the top one way, no crime in being imbalanced at the bottom the other way.

    All this does is maintain the former and do nothing about the latter.

  101. JMB says:

    It’s do or die time for TS at AAA.

    He needs to play well enough to be the back-up to Barajas in June 2013 at the minimum. I know veteran leaders haven’t worked out well in the past, but it seems that Barajas & AJ Burnett have a strong influence on our stable.



    While Appel had 1.1 potential for 2012, I havent read that people think he is currently better than Cole or even the younger Jamo. So I think it would be a reach to give up so much the kid.

    If this was the Harper or Strasburg, then maybe you say damn the Seligula and go for broke. But it’s not.

  102. JHadar says:

    Presley is being recalled.

  103. AJS says:

    My basd on the 20% number. I was going off of a coworkers explaination of the rules. He usually knows his stuff..not so in this case.

  104. NMR says:

    Speaking of finally jumping in…no follow up on the Allie story?

    Just keepin’ ya honest.

  105. Karen22 says:

    NMR and Jandy—

    Thanks, but no one can out-silly Milo. :>) I’ve been sick for a week, and thus delirious.

  106. NMR says:

    “DK: OK, I’ll finally jump in on this here: Every point about how the Yankees and Red Sox eventually would blow away teams like the Pirates is completely valid. Indisputable.”

    Can someone explain to me how this would be done in the context of the draft?

    Are you insinuating that the big markets teams would make handshake deals with top rated prospects prior to the draft?

    If Boras didn’t do this with Strasburg and Harper, what makes you think it’s inevitable in the future?

  107. Jandy says:

    karen, summer cold already? Feel better! (Yes, you’re right about Milo)

  108. Evan says:

    LA Kings fans tried to give the Devils a taste of home. I love this.

  109. Ants limping

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

  110. Jandy says:

    Evan ~ love it! lol

  111. buggee says:

    Not a big fan of Bubby Selig and his confounded tinkering, pandering to high-revenue clubs! This one man has again polluted the Biz of Baseball. Thus, I herewith aver that Bud is NOT in the Best Interests of the Game and that he should both fine and suspend himself. Forever. (And take TBMTIB with ya Bubby)

    So Appel falls to #8 and the Bucs pick him, even though he’s a Boras’ “client”. Boras wants over-allotment money. The Bucs refuse. Then what? Does Appel go back into the eligible player-pool, maybe slip past the draft, enter the Frontier League and get picked up via that route for the caysh Boras really wants? Stupid.

    And, should that scenario (or something similar where the Bucs lose out on this primo-talent) play out, how are the Pirates compensated? Compensatory draft picks? More draft-eligible players who will want over-allotment money? Ugh.

    The Biz of Baseball is sucking like I’ve never seen stuff suck before (Kudos to Kramer for that line). Thanks for reading.

  112. Jandy says:

    Hi buggee, let Bizrow know where you’re from so he can you to the list of DK’s lunatics :)
    Let him know here or on the game thread.

  113. Boise Bucco says:

    @NMR, to me, how it would work in the context of the draft would be: the only reason that Josh Bell is a Pirate is because everyone thought he was unsignable. What the Bucs did was show, that while you might say you’re going to college, and you send out letters to every team saying that you’re going to college, that any prospect can be had for a price. Josh Bell was projected to go in the first round, and only dropped because of this signabillity. I’m just a regular guy but I know that if the Red Sox knew that he could’ve been bought for $3.1M, they would have done so.

    So what this does is, all these guys who say they’re going to college and are going to be tough/impossible signs, it allows the bigger market teams to have an advantage because $3.1M (or $5-6M for that matter) isn’t as much money to them as it is to the Bucs. And if that happens, we’d see 1st round prices getting driven up, only because the first round guys are going to see some guy in the Comp round or later getting big money to sign.

    A lot of good points have been brought up about how the Sox and others basically use other teams’ farm systems as their own; by allowing those teams to develop the players and then paying the free-agency prices, you’re using it as a talent filter, and while they might be overpaying, they’re (for the most part) paying for a more sure thing.

    My counter to that is: Even if a prospect doesn’t develop into an Albert Pujols, before he hits the majors and proves he can’t hit, he’s still a commodity. Andy LaRoche is a great example of this. I don’t have the exact rankings, but I do know that he was rated very highly in the Dodgers organization before he was a Pirate. The Dodgers got way more for him as a AAA’er than they ever would have gotten for him as a rookie or 2nd year player. The flipside to that argument, obviously, would be James McDonald. But, if you have a farm system full of Andy LaRoche’s, you could probably trade for a fully-developed James McDonald, and with less risk. So having prospects as trading commodities is valuable, and the more high-priced prospects you have, the more you can trade for proven major leaguers.

    @DK, I do see your point though, and I agree with you in that, if the MLB is going to keep rosters uncapped (and unfloored) that keeping the Draft uncapped would be the best possible counter to that. I can only hope that this one day leads to even a soft NBA-style cap/floor on MLB rosters. They could even use a play on words and tell everybody that it will “increase MLB roster spending by installing a hard floor, and force the Pirates/Padres/pre-2012 Marlins to spend more.”

  114. NMR says:


    “I’m just a regular guy but I know that if the Red Sox knew that he could’ve been bought for $3.1M, they would have done so.”

    You must not have read DK’s article linked above. I suggest it. The Sox got burned because they thought Bell was going to college, regardless of money. The Pirates proved them wrong.

  115. Karen22 says:


    Summer bronchitis…my colds always turn into that! At least the weather’s been crappy and I’ve had no real urge to get out of my PJ’s.

  116. Boise Bucco says:

    @NMR–that’s what I mean. EVERYBODY thought he was going to college. The Bucs got one of those letters too. The Pirates burned their 3rd rounder on him, hoping that they could get him signed, and it worked out. And the amount of money they paid him to not go to college would be well within the Red Sox’ budget.

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