Today is the biggest day of the year for the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates.
A few short weeks ago, it would be impossible to imagine that we would write that sentence. Will the Pirates sign Josh Bell and Gerritt Cole? The answer is yes on Cole. The take on Bell is more complicated.
At least for Bell.
The talented high school player has to make a decision. Does he ignore the large amount of cash that will be placed in front of him to possibly make more money down the road?
For people like you and me, it’s a no brainer. Take the guaranteed money. Immediately. But Bell probably doesn’t realize the importance of cash in a man’s life yet. That’s a shame for Pirates fans looking for some sunshine today.
It doesn’t appear to be so easy for Bell. Elaborate plans were conducted by Josh and Associates to actually appear to not want to be drafted. Well if one is to take his letter to baseball teams seriously, which everyone seemed to do.
Apparently very intelligent baseball men are buying it too. Kendall Rogers tweeted he would be shocked if Bell signs. His estimates have gone from 60 percent to 75 percent to a few hours ago being 90 percent.
Rogers does an excellent job, but can he really have a pulse on the amount of players in the draft? We doubt it. So let’s take his vast amount of knowledge for what it is. He doesn’t see it getting done. He is tweeting what he is told, no doubt by someone connected with the Boras camp. Seems to be a reasonable thought, doesn’t it?
Yesterday, Neal Huntington said in his show that he was moving forward with some contingency plans. He wasn’t specific, but reading between the lines it is easy to see what that could mean.
Right now, we are hearing that Clay Holmes is a done deal. He’s getting paid. The things to watch for are the buzzing rumors about the Pirates other talented picks like Kody Watts, and Aaron Brown. We have to think these players are what Huntington referred to as the contingency plan.
Was this a ploy on Huntington’s part? Sure it was. It’s negotiation 101. The Boras Camp is locked up tight on this deal. Think about it, if there were leaks on Boras/Bell’s side wouldn’t it appear that the letter was a farce? If he was going to college, freaking go man. Move. Borrow some cash from Mom for posters, a new laptop, a fridge and all of the other necessities. Go do it kid. Enjoy.
So why is it August 15 and the Pirates GM is still saying he is optimistic? Because we think there is a possibility that Bell wants to sign. He wants to get paid, play baseball, and get away from Mom. What American teenager with that much talent doesn’t? The Pirates want to pay him, have him play baseball, and get away from his Mom. So the only real difference is where he will play–Texas or Pirates system, and how much? Damn, how can that not get done?
So what have we heard? Not too much, and that’s not really that strange. This is being held close by all sides. But we did hear that Bell wants a little more than the Pirates are offering. Who doesn’t want more right? No surprise that was leaked.
So the real decision boils down to this. Do the Bucs close the deal with Bell, esentially out bidding themselves and possibly what Bell could get in a few years? Or do the Pirates hold tight to what million dollar amount they have developed to be the magic number?
If the Pirates feel it’s too high, we think the decision will come down to Frank Coonelly speaking with Bob Nutting. Those two will make the call on if the team reaches deeper. We feel that they will go deeper in their pockets as well.
If Frank and Bob say no, the contingency plans roll out. The smokescreen already appears to be in Pittsburgh we are hearing as well. Who knows what is really true, but perhaps the offers extended to Watts and Brown might get bumped if Boras stonewalls.
All of this depends on what side you listen to. Thus some feel, the Pirates will make a strong final push for Bell closer to the deadline. The other side feels like the numbers have to be near outlandish for Bell to consider it. Could it all just be a game? Sure. Bell might never have wanted to go to college and just wanted to create mass attention to himself. It certainly worked, and the Pirates, rolled the dice and bit on it.
It sure would be a whopper if they land him too.
It’s all behind closed doors and we know nothing other than the rumors we are picking up on the fly, but this we do know to be truth. On numerous occassions Huntington has said he learned a lot from dealing with Boras in the past. He’s not afraid to deal with Boras and don’t be afraid to believe that despite some perceived long odds, this could be the one time in recent history that the Pirates close a major deal based on the mistakes they learned over the past couple of years.
Even if they don’t close on Bell, the organization learned a few more lessons and receive compensation in next year’s draft. The opportunity cost is lost and that is large, but don’t start thinking about that just yet, don’t give up hope on this deal.
I have confidence that the Bucs are going to give it all they have on Bell. The upside is simply too high to ignore. Now the big question becomes, will the dollars be too much for Bell to ignore?
We say the deal gets done.
But if you see names like Bennett, Dunatov and Deluca popping up on your twitter account later tonight, it’s not a law firm, it’s probably a solid indication that Josh Bell really did want to buy textbooks, get dropped off by his Mom a block before faculty parking, and enjoy the utter pleasure of 8am classes. Hook ’em horns!