STANFORD (CBS/AP) – Mark Appel spurned the Pittsburgh Pirates and decided to remain at Stanford for his senior season, one of the first big casualties of baseball’s new restrictions on amateur signing bonuses.
Appel is the only one not to sign out of 31 first-round picks.
Projected by some to be the top pick, the right-hander was selected eighth by the Pirates. That pick has a signing slot of $2.9 million in baseball’s new labor contract, and the team could have signed him for about $3.5 million to $3.9 million without incurring any penalties, such as a tax and the loss of future draft picks.
Pittsburgh’s final offer was $3.8 million.
“After much thought, prayer and analysis of both opportunities, I came to the conclusion the best decision is to remain at Stanford continuing my studies, finishing my degree, and doing all I can to assist the Cardinal baseball team in our goal to win a national championship,” Appel said in a statement. “I greatly valued the prospect of a professional opportunity and I will pursue a professional baseball career after getting my Stanford degree.”
Under the labor deal, the deadline for draft picks to sign was 5 p.m. Friday, a month earlier than under the previous deal.
“Our final offer exceeded the available bonus pool money and was essentially up to the last dollar we could offer prior to falling into the second-tier penalty, which would have resulted in the loss of a first round draft selection,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “While, as we have shown in past years, we are willing to be aggressive with our financial offer, we simply did not feel it was in the best interest of the organization to forfeit our first round selection in the 2013 amateur draft.”
Because Appel didn’t sign, the Pirates will receive an extra first-round pick in next June’s draft, the ninth selection overall. Appel will go back into next year’s draft.
Appel, who turns 21 on Sunday, is advised by agent Scott Boras. Last year, Boras negotiated an $8 million signing bonus for UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole after he was selected by Pittsburgh with the top pick.
“Selecting Mark was a calculated risk, as we knew he would be a difficult sign,” Huntington said. “As an organization, we need to continue to take these types of calculated risks. While we would’ve preferred to add Mark to the group of talented prospects in our system, we wish Mark, and his family, nothing but success in the future.”