The Pirates spent $30.6MM on the 2008-10 drafts, more than any other team. This year they upped the ante, spending over $17MM on 24 players - the largest draft expenditure in baseball history. Yesterday, the Bucs inked first overall pick Gerrit Cole for a record $8MM bonus, and then surprised the industry by succeeding in signing second round pick/first round talent Josh Bell for $5MM. Bell, who had a strong commitment to the University of Texas, more than doubled the record for a player drafted outside of the first round. Both players are represented by Scott Boras, as our agency database shows. Today's Pirates draft links...
- Talking to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, GM Neal Huntington explained the team's pursuit of Bell: "His family is obviously strong, they're intelligent and hard-working people, and we had nothing but respect for their perspective. We wanted the opportunity to explain who we were, how we do things, and we were hoping Josh was ready to take the step to professional baseball if we were to find a common financial ground, and we were able to do that."
- Cole can make more than $9MM in guaranteed money if he reaches the Majors by 2013, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Price has Huntington explaining that Cole's record minor league deal was the way to go: "There are times where a pure minor league contract and minor league signing bonus, paid out over nine months, is better than a major league contract paid out over five-plus years, depending on how the deals are structured."
- Just for good measure, the Pirates also set a ninth-round record by signing high school righty Clay Holmes for $1.2MM, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Holmes was one of many over slot deals for the Pirates.