By the way, guess which franchise is blithely ignoring slot recommendations and locking up signability picks by forking over huge signing bonuses? The Pittsburgh Pirates, who dropped over $3 million in signing bonuses for fourth-rounder Zach Dodson, sixth-rounder Zack Von Rosenberg, seventh-rounder Trent Stevenson and eighth-rounder Colton Cain.
All four young men were high school pitchers with college scholarships waiting for them - instead, each will go directly into a Pirates' minor-league system that's been steadily rebuilding itself over the last 13 months.
It's easy to debate the wisdom of spending so much money on bonuses for high school pitchers, but the Pirates are making a very bold statement with these signings. First, a franchise run by former MLB draft czar Frank Coonelly is thumbing its nose at the very recommendations its president helped to craft. If the small-market Pirates can ignore the slots, what excuse do big-market teams like the Mets have for toeing the line?
Perhaps more importantly, the franchise that was lambasted for trading away mediocrities such as Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Adam Laroche this season is very clearly redirecting that money into the amateur draft. Who is more likely to be part of the next good Pirates team - Jack Wilson or one of the four young pitchers signed with the money Pittsburgh saved by trading him?