Appel chooses Stanford over Pirates

The SportsXchange

First-round draft pick Mark Appel was unable to reach an agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates and will return to Stanford for his senior season.

The sides were unable to agree on a deal by Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline, making Appel the first casualty of baseball's new restrictions on bonuses paid to amateurs.

"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 in a statement. "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 overall selection. Appel, the only one 31 first-round picks not to sign, will re-enter the draft next year.

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."

Projected by some to be the top pick, the right-hander fell to eighth. That pick has a signing slot of $2.9 million in baseball's new labor contract, and the team could've signed him for about $3.5 million to $3.9 million without incurring a penalty.

Appel is advised by agent Scott Boras.

"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."
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