Perhaps this is something that simply won't fly with the new MLB draft system, and I'm sure it's been thought of before, but I thought I would throw it out there. Since the Pirates just drafted Appel--predicted by some (many?) to be the top overall draft pick--let's use him as an example.
There have been reports that Appel turned down a $6M + contract with the Astros which is why they passed on him, and it seems logical that other teams passed on him due to signability. Based on their history, I think we can determine the following:
A): Scott Boras feels strongly that his players should receive large bonuses and will nickel and dime prospective signers to achieve this end
B): The Pirates don't mind spending money on the draft when they feel it will help grow their ball club.
Would it be possible for the Pirates and Boras/Appel to agree on a very small signing bonus and simultaneously agree to a high-paying contract? Assuming Appel is on the fast track to the majors (and to be extra saucy, let's say he hits the majors in 2013) he would be eligible for free agency as early as 2019. Could the Pirates negotiate a 4 year, $6 or $7M contract which could be reevaluated at the end of that period? Based on performance they could extend and renegotiate salary because he'll still be under team control. By not paying much of a signing bonus they could free up that money to sign other players in the draft and spend the money that Boras/Appel want and feel they deserve.
Perhaps the above scenario is moot and Appel will just sign for slot or slightly above-slot but if the Pirates are willing to spend money to lock him in and get around break these small market restricting draft rules, wouldn't this be an option?
Maybe I'm missing something and the rules would completely rule this out. I was just curious of the validity of an option like this.