First Pitch: The New CBA Might Not Be So Bad, If…

There have been two early story lines for the 2012 draft. First, there have been a lot of fast signings. The Pirates have agreed to terms with at least six players, including second round pick Wyatt Mathisen. Official signings and announcements are expected early next week, and the number of signings will probably be more than six.

In the past, guys like second round pick Wyatt Mathisen wouldn’t agree to sign right after the draft. They probably wouldn’t sign until mid-July. Now, Mathisen could be a few weeks in to his pro career by the middle of July.

The other story line has been the Mark Appel situation. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wrote today about how the Appel negotiations will test the new draft rules. He mentioned that the Pirates are expected to offer Appel the $2.9 M slot price, and maybe a bit more, but that they won’t go overboard with the offer.

The new CBA was designed for exactly that. It was set up so that the Pirates could take the best player available without worrying about the cost. Take the player, give him up to the slot price, and make sure you don’t go over the total bonus pool.

I’ve written before that I don’t see how Appel has much leverage under the new system. Teams don’t look like they’re going over-slot on their picks. And teams also aren’t focusing their draft on one player. That means that Appel’s chances of getting more money in future years is limited to being selected in the top four of a future draft. If he didn’t do that this year, he won’t do that next year, in a stronger draft class.

If the new CBA works as expected, and the Pirates end up signing Appel for $2.9 M, or close to it, then the overall impact wouldn’t be that bad. It would prevent the Josh Bell type deals, and teams couldn’t go overboard signing over-slot guys. However, unlike previous drafts, teams could take the best available players early. So rather than taking Mathisen and Jon Sandfort in rounds 6-10, the Pirates can take them in the second and third rounds, still pay them big bonuses, and end up under slot.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Royals 5-3. Kristy Robinson’s notebook looks at the game, and how the Pirates are now a game out of first.

**Prospect Watch: Willy Garcia hits his eighth homer.

**Draft Pick Signings: Jacob Stallings (7th round), Dalton Friend (12th round), Wyatt Mathisen (2nd round).

**The Draft Pick Signing Tracker has all of the moves that have been made so far.

**Chris Resop trying to find momentum after Thursday’s outing.

**Only one day left to get the 2012 Prospect Guide for $8! Use the code “DRAFT” on the products page of the site.

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