Astros Officially Sign Top Pick Mark Appel for $6.35 Million – Well Below Slot

stanford mark appelAs had been reported for a few days now, the Houston Astros have officially agreed to a deal with the top overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Stanford righty Mark Appel. The deal will be announced at a press conference later this afternoon.

Of particular note here, Appel reportedly signed for $6.35 million, which is almost $1.5 million under the slot value for the top overall pick.

The Chicago Cubs are still working on signing number two overall pick, Kris Bryant, for which there is a slot value of about $6.7 million. Although Appel’s deal does not dictate what Bryant will get, it gives the Cubs a great deal of ammo in trying to get Bryant under slot. With Appel signing at $6.35 million, the Cubs could now make Bryant the best-paid pick in the Draft and still sign him for a few hundred thousand under slot, which money the Cubs could then use elsewhere for signings.

Given that Scott Boras represents both Appel and Bryant, however, I’m not entirely sure he’s going to want to get his number two pick player a higher signing bonus than his number one pick player – I’m not really sure how good that looks for the Appel deal, or how it would look to future clients. Further, players who aren’t drafted as “value” picks tend to slot in behind each other in bonuses. Top pick gets the most, second pick gets second most, third pick gets third most, etc.

Tentatively, then, I’d take a guess that $6.35 million is the new ceiling on Bryant’s deal with the Cubs, with $5.2 million being the absolute floor (i.e., the same $1.5 million below slot that Appel just got).

If the two sides meet in the middle, Bryant will get a bonus right around $5.75/$5.8 million. Obviously that would represent huge savings to the Cubs to be used elsewhere in the Draft, and you’d have to be pretty happy about it. We’ll see if it plays out that way, because, remember, Bryant has more leverage than Appel (or Jonathan Gray) did. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Bryant’s bonus figure start with a six.

The signing deadline is July 12, and a Bryant deal could come really at any point up until then. Stay on your toes.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

62 responses to “Astros Officially Sign Top Pick Mark Appel for $6.35 Million – Well Below Slot”

  1. Stevie B

    My bonus this year will start with a 6…..

    $6,000.00 maybe /////

  2. Rich H

    Has anyone ever said if it is a major league deal for Appel with a 40 man spot? Because if it does then we are openning a whole new can of worms with Bryant. He could actually ask for more than Appel with out the 40 man spot and the Boras will look like he is just getting his clients what they want. Appel wanted the fast track that a guaranteed spot would bring and Bryant wanted the higher number.

    1. Scotti

      I thought the new draft rules prohibited MLB deals…

      1. Rich H

        It might I have not heard that though.

        1. Timothy Scarbrough

          It does.

      2. BluBlud

        It does not, however, prevent a team from promising to put Appel on the 40 man roster on September 1st, even if it is not in writing.

        1. 5412


          While you may be right about a promise, how does Borass use that as leverage? If he mentions it he is saying Houston violated the agreement and doing Appel a disservice.


  3. 70'scub

    He signs for = or less than the first pick. This is good business for Scott as he most likely will have top picks next year and will be again working with the Cubs/Stros. Boras’s bread is buttered he will keep the line moving.

  4. scorecardpaul

    I am questioning this sentence…Bryant has more leverage than Appel (or Jonathan Gray) did.
    If the best agent in baseball, (Bryant’s current agent) can’t get the number one pick ( a college senior) a big money contract this year, what makes Bryant think he will be able to get him one next year??
    The potential for less money from a down year in college next year far outweighs the chance that he has a perfect senior year and becomes the overall number one pick next year. Even if he is next years number 1 Boras just showed him that he wont be able to get him a big contract because he wont have any leverage???? I am sorry if this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but if Boras can’t get a college senior who is the #1 pick big money, what is there to gain by waiting and risking stock falling, injury, and delaying free agency clock???

    1. JB88

      Agree. Perhaps it is my optimistic nature, but I don’t believe Bryant is getting $6M+.

    2. 5412


      Great point.


  5. Lou Brock

    Bryant has zero incentive to return to school. Theo and Boras both know it. Marlins drafted third baseman Moran this year and will not pick Bryant next year with the pitchers that will be available.
    Bryant will sign for about $ 5.5 to $ 5.8 at most.

  6. Cheryl

    Maybe Appel does get on the 40 man roster with Boras’ help, but so might Bryant. That might explain the under slot pay. Don’t forget Marmol will be gone this year, maybe even by the trade deadline so his slot might go to Bryant. I’m assuming that a draftee could go on the major league roster. Or, there might be a timetable involved with Bryant. Could he start at AA, then move to AAA in 2015 and be placed on the 40 man roster and at the midway point in 2015 be called up to the big leagues?

    1. 70'scub

      Bryant is not ready for the 40 roster a quick move up could hurt not help his progress.

  7. Cheryl

    I see that a draftee can’t go on the 40 man roster so a timetable may be involved for both Appel and Bryant.

  8. cubfanincardinalland

    You offer him 5.5 mil. and if he is too dense to take it, you didn’t want the kid anyway then. My question is who would the Cubs be targeting from their draft picks that would need a large overslot to sign at this point?

    1. andoalex

      Skulina and Masek (round 4 and 5) definitely, maybe burks in round 9, Clifton already indicated he got “third round money” from round 12. I’m sure we would love to have a little extra to throw at some of the prep players in rounds 11-30, specifically the catchers as they were said to be tough signs.

    2. TWC

      “You offer him 5.5 mil. and if he is too dense to take it, you didn’t want the kid anyway then.”

      Lulz. You’ve really thought this through, I see. Because losing Bryant due to being a hardass at the negotiating table has no other consequences other than losing the payer, right?

      1. JB88

        Be happy TWC, it likely means that they can’t afford to lose you and will offer you at least full slot for being the 41st round pick.

        1. TWC


          1. DarthHater

            Of course, “full slot” for the 41st pick is zero.

            But you do get a free bottle of:


    3. Jim L.

      I think you’ve been in cardinal land too damn long.

    4. DarthHater

      “who would the Cubs be targeting from their draft picks that would need a large overslot to sign at this point?”

      Come one, haven’t you heard about this Conroy guy? He’s a phenom!

      1. DarthHater

        *come on [sigh]

  9. SenorGato

    That’s 350K more than Appel was expected to sign for by all the former perts on the Internet.

    I’m thinking Bryant gets 6, maybe 6.2 or something. Appel is supposedly a weak #1 overall, and Bryant was a hell of a hitter in college.

    1. JB88

      “I’m thinking Bryant gets 6, maybe 6.2 or something. Appel is supposedly a weak #1 overall, and Bryant was a hell of a hitter in college.”

      This logic is beyond strained.

      1. SenorGato

        How so?

        1. SenorGato

          You also missed half the post.

        2. JB88

          I didn’t miss half the post. I ignored it because (a) it is Boras; (b) what the hell do a bunch of guys how aren’t in Houston’s FO or work for Boras know about what Appel is going to get; and (c) if all Appel got was $6.3 when the Cubs could have got him $6.7 with their slot alone, it means the Cubs weren’t willing to beat Houston’s price and aren’t going to be paying near that sort of money to Bryant.

          As for your logic, you can’t seriously type in the same paragraph that Appel was a weak no. 1 and effectively also argue that the No. 2 pick in that same weak draft is going to be a higher percentage of slot than Appel. This isn’t last year’s draft when the clear No. 1, Buxton, wasn’t selected No. 1.

          1. SenorGato

            Yeah, Bryant is a Boras client. Your B makes no sense and the C actually makes less sense.

            OTOH I can make the argument that in a draft like this there was not a large gap between Appel and Bryant. Bryant isn’t like Jonathan Gray, who flew up the boards during the season. Bryant opened the year as the top bat in the draft and put up a monster season after it. Bryant isnt likely getting the pennies fans love to hope for when this is said and done.

    2. BluBlud

      I agree, that Appel was a weak #1 pick, but the actually talent evaluators do not agree with us. He was the #1 talent on the board. If the #1 talent on the board gt 1.5 million under slot, then Bryant will certainly come considerably under slot. I’m thinking he gets no more then 5.7, a cool 1 million under slot, and possibly as low as 5.5.

      1. SenorGato

        I don’t actually believe Appel is a weak #1 pick, hes just less paper exciting and cartoonishly hyped than recent #1s. Plus he carries the animosity over what he did to our friends the owners last year…I think hes an excellent amateur with potential to be a great pro.

        1. SenorGato

          great and long lasting pro.*

  10. LouBrown

    No way he gets 6, Bryant has little leverage. He returns to school and his best case scenario is being number 2 next year (assuming the Marlins stay the worst team), which puts him right where he is now, but with even less leverage as a senior. I don’t think the FO will hold Boras’ feet to the fire, since they have a long term relationship. About halfway between 5.2 and 6.4, lets both sides walk away a “winner” in the negotiations.

    1. SenorGato

      The way the Internet likes to think, no draft prospect has leverage. No draft prospect has leverage AND its a good thing they should learn to accept. Helluva hive.

    2. SenorGato

      OTOH I can see 5.8 and 5.9. Close enough to the ~6 I think he’ll get.

  11. Kenster

    So I was wondering (I know this doesn’t matter but it’s fun to think what if’s) but if the new signing rules and bonus pools were in affect for the last 10 years or so how would that have affected the Cubs when they drafted Jeff Samardzija? I know he slipped to the 5th round due to sign-ability issues but if I remember correctly they signed him to a nice payday so he would stay away from the NFL. But also in that draft the Cubs lost picks in rounds 2 thru 4 anyways since they “signed all the players” that offseason before. Does anyone think that Samardzija would have even been drafted by the Cubs that year if the draft limits had been in place?

  12. scorecardpaul

    Another thing to think of?? If some of you guys were happy spending Millions of dollars to fill our minor league system with long shot Cubans in order to make the Cubs more attractive in the future, or for Soler, then with a similar logic is it possible that since we hope to be jumping into free agency with both feet very soon that we could work to make Boras happy, for future signings of big time free agents??? not trying to sound like diehard here just thinking that since he (Boras) gets a lot of the better players, that maybee a little extra here or there might help in the future??

    1. DReese

      I doubt it. For Boras or any agent, it should go #1 client #2 team he likes the best.

  13. #1lahairfan

    I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again: some people I know and the person on the pro sports daily draft thread are saying that Bryant signed for 5.6 million.

    When this guy named joeby on the draft thread said that he signed for 5.6 million I was not convinced, but a couple other people I know are saying the same thing.

    I know this has a high chance of being just a rumor so has anybody else heard about this ?

  14. Robert

    MLBtraderummors says that the number 4 pick for the Twins just signed for slot value and that the Redsox have signed the number 7 pick for slightly under slot.

    Hope we can get Bryant signed soon. Maybe get him some time in Daytona this year.

  15. Lou Brock

    One other piece of the puzzle – Boras reps Jacoby Ellsbury and would love for the Cubs to be in the bidding this fall.

  16. Adventurecizin' Justin

    Could Boras be getting underslot for Appel & Bryant so that he can give his other clients more to forego school?

    1. Adventurecizin' Justin

      So my next question is… how many Boras’ clients did Houston & Chicago draft?

    2. gocatsgo2003

      Wouldn’t make any sense to essentially subvert higher-profile prospects (who are likely in line for higher paychecks throughout their careers) in favor of lower-level prospects.

  17. 70'scub

    Boras is not into that, he most likely will have top picks next year he needs these guys to sign, if not it is a reverse sunk cost to him.

  18. Josh

    They must be getting Bryant at a decent underslot…..Callis is reporting that the Cubs just signed Hanneman, their 3rd round pick, for an overslot amount of $1MM……this puts them around 250,000 over so far with three other top 10 to sign, not counting Bryant, and Clifton still gets his “third round money”.

    1. JJ

      Overslot for Hannemann? I thought he was supposed to be signed under slot? His dad actually said something to effect of “we never thought he get drafted this early”

      1. Scotti

        Hannemann, as a freshman, had TONS of leverage (especially after coming on strong after division play started).

        1. cubchymyst

          He is also 22, which puts him on the older side of college players signed

          1. davidalanu

            A 22-year old freshman?

  19. Ben (BG2383)

    The real question is how did Hanneman get a million. He got 264k over-slot and he was a reach.

    1. Ben (BG2383)

      haha, I meant to have a question mark instead of period after first sentence but it won’t let me edit

    2. wvcubsfan

      Well evidently the people who get paid to run the Cubs don’t think he’s as much of a reach and us dudes on the interwebs.

      1. Ben (BG2383)

        Evidently not, but it must mean Bryant is signing for a good bit under his slot or he isn’t affordable at this point

        1. wvcubsfan

          Maybe the 5.6 rumors are actually true.

    3. gocatsgo2003

      Had to buy him out of his football scholarship, apparently.

      1. Josh

        Looking at a little video of him playing and I can see why Hoyer and Epstein wanted him….he looks like a young, inexperienced, unpolished version of Jacoby Ellsbury…..he may never be that good, but they have very similar builds and styles of play

  20. wvcubsfan

    I just really don’t understand why so many fans make Boras out to be the devil. He does his job and by all accounts I’ve heard and read he does it well. I’ve heard him do interviews a number of times and he comes across as very intelligent and he probably has made one of the most intelligent arguments against the current draft rules that I’ve heard.

    Does he play both ends against the middle? Sure he does, and if I ever get to the point that I need an agent I’d want my agent to do the same thing. I just can’t fault a guy for being very good and the profession he has chosen.

    1. SenorGato

      Boras is the fn man and a living legend. Best sports agent ever by galaxies.

  21. Fenway Frank

    If Appel does not sign and the Astros are the worst again, Appel can’t sign higher than 3rd next year.

    I think this undercut his leverage.

  22. Keith Law Believes Kris Bryant Will Be the Most Expensive Pick in the Draft | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] After top pick Mark Appel signed for $6.35 million this week – $1.5 million under slot – I came to the conclusion that we’d seen the cap on what it would take to sign Kris Bryant, the Cubs’ selection at number two. You can read my thoughts on that subject here. [...]

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