The top pitcher in the 2013 MLB Draft went to the team with the top pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, so you can’t much be bothered that the Cubs didn’t get Stanford’s Mark Appel. (Besides, the Cubs got the top bat in the Draft, so it’s six of one, half-dozen of the other, right?) In some ways, that makes Appel irrelevant to the Cubs. They never had a shot at him, and they didn’t get him. Best of luck in the AL West.
That said, there is at least one last touch of relevance to the Cubs in the Appel story: how big is the signing bonus he gets from the Houston Astros?
It looks like the Houston Astros are getting close to finalizing a deal with Appel, who slid in last year’s Draft and passed up on a $3.8 offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan’s sources, Appel and Houston are likely to finalize a deal at some point next week. His bonus is “expected to be twice as big” as the one he turned down from the Pirates.
If true, that $7.6 million bonus would be very close to the full $7,790,400 slotted at the top of the Draft. If Appel, who is represented by Scott Boras, gets close to full slot at No. 1, you can assume that the Cubs’ top pick, Kris Bryant, who is also represented by Boras, is going to be pushing for close to full slot. That said, if Appel receives a couple hundred thousand under slot, the Cubs will have at least a little something to point to in the negotiations. Slot for the No. 2 pick is $6,708,400.
In some ways – as we discussed with Jonathan Gray, who received an under slot bonus from the Rockies at No. 3 – these bonuses are wholly unrelated to each other. A player is paid what he is worth. But in a system with slots that actually mean something, precedent and nearby picks do have some importance in negotiations – because, frankly, there’s very little else to point to. That’s especially true when there is no argument that guys like Appel or Gray were selected as “value” picks.
So, if Appel gets about $200,000 under slot, and Gray got $800,000 under slot, the Cubs have an argument for giving Bryant an under slot bonus that falls somewhere in that range (i.e., $5.9 million to $6.5 million).
The other impact here: if Appel and Gray sign this quickly, I would no longer be shocked to see Bryant sign well before the July 12th deadline, which would be swell.