Jim Callis has the signing bonus for 14th round pick Nick Buckner, and the amount is surprising.
One more pool-relevant bonus blank to fill in: #Pirates 14th-rder Nick Buckner, $135k. Texas HS OF, big raw power, Houston commit. #mlbdraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) July 2, 2013
The Pirates signed Buckner and 16th round pick Billy Roth last week, both to over-slot deals. Both players were expected to be difficult to sign, although Roth only took $190,000 and Buckner is now at $135,000. Players after the 10th round can get $100,000 before they start to count against the bonus pool. For bonus pool purposes, the Pirates only spent $125,000 in pool money to get both of these over-slot players.
A look at the Draft Pick Signing Tracker shows that the Pirates now have $107,800 left for over-slot deals with no penalties. They currently have two top ten round picks to sign — 6th round pick Adam Frazier and 7th round pick Buddy Borden. The Pirates have a combined $528,800 to sign both players. Slot for Frazier is $240,600, while slot for Borden is $180,400.
Frazier just ended his season with Mississippi State, and the talks with him are expected to go smoothly.
Neal Huntington expects talks with 6th-rounder SS Adam Frazier "to go forward smoothly." His Miss State season just ended with CWS. #Pirates
— James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) June 28, 2013
Borden talked with the Pirates after the draft, but is holding out for an above-slot deal. If the Pirates don’t sign Borden, they lose his $180,400 from the bonus pool.
There are other potential over-slot players the Pirates could turn to with their remaining money. One of the more intriguing options, 24th round right-hander Carson Cross, doesn’t look to be signing this year, according to Jessica Quiroli.
Still unsigned: A source told me that pitcher Carson Cross won't sign with the Pirates & will return to UConn for his senior year. @MLBDraft
— Jessica Quiroli (@heelsonthefield) July 2, 2013
Other options could be 11th round pick Erich Weiss, a third baseman who has been playing in the Cape Cod league this summer. Bryan Baker, a 40th round right-handed pitcher, is a good option, as are the other late round prep pitchers. At this point the Pirates could offer a little over $200,000 to a guy after the 10th round, and that’s assuming they don’t go over-slot for Borden. That $200,000 figure is about 6th-7th round money.
The Pirates could spend an additional $435,345 by going over their bonus pool. They would be taxed 75% of that amount, but wouldn’t lose any draft picks if they only spent to that amount. That could allow them to add a few more players, but even if they gave all of that to one player you’re looking at third round money. If they went that route, it would make more sense if the money was going to multiple players, similar to Buckner and Roth.