Saturday, August 20, 2011

#217: Big Spenders

---SSL Broadcast #55---

This week, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed their top two picks in the Major League draft to contracts that included huge signing bonuses.

First overall pick Gerrit Cole received an $8 million signing bonus (double the projected slot value) and second-rounder Josh Bell received a $5 million bonus (nearly 10 times the projected slot value).

At first glance, this appears to be the Pirates doing what they can to make sure they retain young, quality players.

Through the "Steeltown Sports" lens, however, this just shows me that they are putting the extra money they've earned into the future now, with no guarantee that when these players are major league-ready, that they will pay to retain them if they turn out to be championship caliber.

The irony is that Pirates president Frank Coonelly is generally someone who likes to make sure that draftees (regardless of team) sign at or below slot. I'm not sure how he feels about this precedent.

We'll see where their hearts (and wallets) are when it comes time to resign players like Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker to long-term deals.

In today's show:

- Steelers first-teamers looked good vs. Philadelphia.

- Sidney Crosby's concussion saga continues.

- Miami University potentially facing the NCAA "death penalty"



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