Today was a really nice day for the Pirates organization. The actual game might be the last thing you'd think about, but the Bucs finally snapped their losing streak with another great performance by James McDonald, whose numbers since being traded are just excellent: three starts, 17.2 innings, 20 strikeouts, four walks, and five runs allowed. When the Pirates trade veterans like Octavio Dotel, what's supposed to happen is that they get worse in the short term so that they can get better in the long term, but that hasn't been the case here. Tonight the Pirates also got two hits from Pedro Alvarez and a homer by Andrew McCutchen.
More importantly, the Pirates signed their top two draft picks. They've already been discussed endlessly both here and elsewhere, but the gist is that Taillon immediately becomes the Pirates' top prospect, and Allie probably slots in at number three or four, behind Taillon, Tony Sanchez and maybe Bryan Morris. I'm generally not wild about the idea of picking a high school arm early in the first round, but Taillon is about as good as they get. He and Allie are both potential stars but, obviously, the problem will be getting them through the system without their getting hurt. Fortunately, they've signed to minor-league deals, which will reduce the pressure to get them through the system quickly. We probably won't be seeing either of them in the majors for at least three years.
It's nice that not only did the Pirates get these two guys, they paid bonuses of several hundred thousand dollars to other players as well (Pirates Prospects has these collected in a handy chart). Third-rounder Mel Rojas Jr. signed for slot money, but that's still over $400,000. Fourth-rounder Nick Kingham got about double his slot amount, picking up a bonus of $480,000. Fifth-rounder Tyler Waldron's slot value was about $173,000. Ninth-rounder Brandon Cumpton got $124,000, which is above the norm. 15th-rounder Drew Maggi got $468,000. 17th-rounder Ryan Hafner got $450,000. And 23rd-rounder Jared Lakind got $400,000. There may also be a couple guys, such as 11th-rounder Dan Grovatt or 49th-rounder Logan Pevny, who also got bonuses that are substantially higher than the usual for the rounds in which they were picked, but the exact figures are unknown at this time.
Put it all together, and the Pirates clearly spent over $10 million this year. Dejan Kovacevic thinks it's more like $12 million, a figure Neal Huntington confirms. That might or might not be a record - the Nationals spent somewhere north of $11 million on bonuses last year, and the Royals spent $11 million in 2008 - but it's a huge amount. It would have been great if the Pirates had signed all of their top ten picks, but it seems pretty churlish to complain that they didn't do so. This is a good day for the organization.
The Pirates will now turn their attention to Mexican pitcher Luis Heredia, who should command a multi-million-dollar bonus.