The Pirates had a record breaking night Monday into Tuesday morning when they signed their top two picks of June's draft, pitcher Gerrit Cole and outfielder Josh Bell, to contracts worth big bucks. In the hours since, the club has earned high marks for the moves. Here's a round up of the reaction.
Most importantly, remember that while $17 million is a ton of money to spend on one draft and that while the Pirates' system looks much better off with Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell and Clay Holmes and Alex Dickerson in it than it did without them, this is all still just a first step. Really, writing the checks is the easy part compared to keeping pitchers' arms healthy and nuturing high school potential into Major League talent. You can't do that without getting the players first, though, and last night, that's what the Pirates did.
The Pirates selected two of the best players in the draft, and much to the surprise of many MLB franchises, they signed both of them. Kudos to the Pittsburgh Pirates – Big winners of the 2011 draft.
The early Twitter reviews from the people who follow this stuff were nothing shy of raves, especially from the many who had the very strong sense — and correctly so — that Bell could not be swayed from his commitment to the University of Texas. Remember, Bell at one point sent a letter to MLB’s scouting bureau explicitly asking not to be drafted.
A cynic might say that was a Scott Boras bluff. Even there, though, you would have to give the Pirates credit for being the only team to call it.
Exceptional work by the front office and scouts.
I’m not going to sit here and say that I knew Josh Bell was going to sign. However, from day one, I never bought in to the idea that he was an impossible sign, or that he was true with his intentions to go to school no matter the price. I said it before he was drafted. I said it after he was drafted. I said it when he went to summer school. I said it when sources had him at 60% to sign. I said it when sources had him at 0-30% to sign. This wasn’t based off of any inside information. It was just looking at the situation and thinking logically, rather than taking the "Don’t draft me" at face value.