If the Pirates fail to sign second-round pick Josh Bell, it appears it won't be for a lack of trying. KDKA's Mike Vukovcan, referencing a report on insidepittsburghsports.com, says the Bucs are prepared to offer the University of Texas commit a $4.25 million signing bonus to pass on college and join the organization. For comparison's sake, they paid second round pick Stetson Allie a $2.25 million bonus last year.
Bell is considered by many to be a first-round level talent. He was selected No. 61 overall by Pittsburgh in June's MLB First-Year Player Draft after he sent a letter to Major League teams advising them not to draft him, saying he was committed to the Longhorns. The Pirates selection of Bell is protected, so if he chooses to go to college, the club will be compensated with a commensurate pick in next year's draft.
Nevertheless, you can bet general manager Neal Huntington is itching to get Bell and his big high school numbers into the Pirates' system, where top shelf offensive talent is hard to find. Last year at Jesuit High School in Texas, he hit .538 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 139 plate appearances. He struck out just five times.
With that in mind, it's not at all surprising to hear the Bucs are willing to throw the big bucks at Bell. The only question now is whether they'll be enough to lure him away from Texas.