For $3.15 million. If Sano is worth half the hype he's gotten, the Pirates should have been willing to top that, because (unlike a lot of major league free agents) he wanted to come to Pittsburgh. It sounds like the Pirates wanted the chance to outbid any offer another team might have made, but Sano's agent Rob Plummer sounds like he was sick of dealing with the Bucs and didn't bother:
"I think contracts are made entirely of relationships, that people should have a comfort level," Plummer said. "Things fell apart because Pittsburgh never believed I had other teams interested in Miguel. I gave Neal every opportunity to sign Miguel for a reasonable amount, but he was afraid he was bidding against himself. When he sees the signing, he'll see that."
Huntington and Plummer had agreed last month that the Pirates would get a chance to negotiate, but both sides acknowledged yesterday that Plummer never called them back.
Obviously, Sano isn't the only fish in the sea, but he might have been the biggest one, and for all the Bucs' attention to Latin America this year, they haven't inked a big prospect from there in this signing period. I'm not sure what else to say until I hear Neal Huntington's side of the story here, but if $3.15 million is the correct amount, it looks like either Plummer just really didn't want to deal with the Pirates, or his account of the Bucs' suspicion that they were bidding against themselves is accurate. I'd bet on the latter, which means the Pirates missed an important opportunity. No 16-year-old is a sure thing, but Sano would have immediately become the second-best prospect in the Pirates' system, behind Pedro Alvarez.
UPDATE: The P-G has since added this:
Plummer said earlier today that, even if the Pirates had come back with more money, he would not have signed with them because he appreciated how the Twins dealt with him.
That doesn't sound especially professional on Plummer's part. He's saying he would have left money for his client on the table just because the Twins made him (the agent, not the player he represents) feel all warm and cuddly.
UPDATE II: If you check out what ESPN's Jorge Arangure has written about this situation, it sounds like what the Post-Gazette is saying is right:
From my understanding, the Orioles were given a chance to match. The Pirates were not given that chance.
The Pirates were absolutely stunned by Sano's signing today. They had no clue this was coming.
My read of the situation is that the agent did not like the close relationship the Pirates had with Sano's family
Yes the Pirates would have offered more.
Basically, the Pirates didn't sign Sano because of the fractured relationship between the Pirates and Sano's agent
Realistically, it's hard to blame the Pirates when they weren't give a chance to match the offer.
So... that's it, then. Sano's agent took less money from the Pirates, despite... no, because of the fact that Sano had a good relationship with the team. It's pretty hard to pin this one on the Pirates, unless Neal Huntington set Plummer's house on fire or something.
Thanks to battlekow.
UPDATE: The P-G explains the whole situation in detail. What a mess. It sounds like Rene Gayo may have done his job a bit too well.
UPDATE: Plummer is posting as "baseballagentesq" in the PBC Blog comments section.