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Frank Coonelly's Comments On The Draft Pool

For whatever it's worth, here's an exchange Frank Coonelly, Vlad and I had in December regarding the draft pool. The news that the Pirates are only getting a pool of $6.6 million is catching me off guard a bit, and you'll probably see why when you read below.

Charlie: So how much is the draft pool?

Coonelly: How much is the draft pool? Ours, for next year, is roughly ... Depends on, well I think we'll get two, I know we'll get two supplemental choices if we don't sign Lee, so it'll be around 10 for us. The highest will be $11.7 million, I think ...

Charlie: 10.

Coonelly: 10.

Charlie: How does that work if the slot [pool value] for the eighth overall pick is $2.9 million and the first overall pick is $7.5 ...

Coonelly: $7.2, I believe.

Charlie: Okay. That's still a big difference, and the only way I can see you guys making that up is with the two comp picks, so how does that work?

Coonelly: Well. I'm counting on two comp picks.

Charlie: Okay. But that still shouldn't add up to $4.3 million, which is the difference between ... is that right? Does the math work?

Vlad: I would trust his math. He's the one that's seen it.

Coonelly: We're around 10. We're going to be around 10.

The Baseball America reporting that came out earlier today only includes one comp pick, since Derrek Lee hasn't signed yet, but obviously, there's no way to make up the difference between $6.6 million and $10 million with one comp pick. We'll see if the BA reporting is wrong, or if Coonelly was wrong. Jim Callis is normally really reliable, obviously.

UPDATE by Charlie: There's the possibility that Coonelly was talking about the entire draft budget. Since the effective limit for spending on each pick after the first 10 rounds is $100,000, and $100,000 x 30 = $3 million, he might have meant that the limit for spending on the entire draft was about $10 million. However, the last 30 rounds are not part of the pool, and he is clearly referring to draft pools elsewhere in his answer. Also, it would be extremely hard to spend that entire $3 million, since there are few players who would 1) require a bonus that large and 2) be tempted by a bonus that small. In the last four years, the Pirates have only given draft bonuses near $100,000 to a handful of players outside the first eight or nine rounds. Usually $100,000 isn't enough to prevent a good prospect from going to college, and yet it's more than you want to pay an organizational player or a college type who wants to hit the ground running.

Anyway, the big issue for me -- aside from the news that the Pirates' draft pool is that small -- is how the Pirates could have signed off on the CBA while being off by a third on one of the key issues surrounding it. I just sent emails to both Coonelly and Callis; hopefully I'll hear from them.

UPDATE by Charlie: Here's Jim Callis' response about what might explain the difference between his numbers and Coonelly's:

I think it's the difference between estimating and actually crunching the numbers. The Lee pick would be worth another $900,000. Perhaps he was thinking of 2013 forward, when there wouldn't be so many compensation picks (pushing the value of several of their picks down) and they'd have a competitive-balance lottery choice in many years (which could be worth more than $1 million).

The Pirates pick once in each round, including the sandwich round. Their No. 8 pick is worth $2.9 million, their No. 45 pick is worth $1,136,400 and it tails off from there.