Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE
"There was no communication with us (before draft)," Boras told me today. "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' perception of Appel's talent continues to strike me as, well, bizarre. And it's hard to know which of his comments to take at face value. That includes his claim that the Pirates didn't communicate with him before the draft. (During which, presumably, Boras would have told the Pirates that they didn't have the bonus pool money necessary to sign his client, or that they would have had to break their bonus pool and lose next year's first-round pick in order to sign him. And then the Pirates would have had to decide whether that claim was true, which would have taken them right back to square one. But whatever.)
Let's assume Boras is telling the truth, though, and that the Pirates had no chance of signing Appel no matter what they did. Can you imagine if they had then tried this already-cockamamie idea? It's horrifying. Remember, you can't try the "big-ticket items and pretty much nothing else" approach unless you draft a bunch of signable college seniors with the rest of your picks in the first ten rounds, because if your draftee doesn't agree to sign for your joke of a bonus, you don't get to use his pool money. Now imagine the Pirates did that and still didn't sign Appel. I suppose in order to make it work, you have to strike a deal with Boras beforehand -- which of course he'll never do unless the team is willing to pay everything it has. It's a no-win situation for the Pirates.
Of course, the Bucs will come out of this just fine -- they'll get the No. 9 pick in next year's draft in addition to their regular first-round pick. I think they probably handled it well, believe it or not. Ignore Boras' junk, draft his client if you want to, offer a reasonable bonus, and stick to your guns. If it doesn't work, you still get a compensation pick. Appel, meanwhile, will have to prove himself yet again, and he'll now have to enter draft negotiations as a college senior, with very little leverage. No one is very likely to come out of this happy. Except, perhaps, Boras, who has microphones in his face yet again.