Pirates Drafted Josh Bell Despite 'Less Than 50 Percent' Chance Of Signing Him

This is a terrific long interview with Pirates scouting director Greg Smith about the Bucs' last couple of drafts. A lot of it focuses on 2011 second-round pick Josh Bell and the chance that the Pirates would sign him (which they eventually did).

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"Reflecting back on it, our chances of signing Josh were probably less than 50% ...

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"We knew the risk, but we felt the upside of his ability warranted such a risk ...

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"The majority of people we talked to during the course of the process said there was no way we were going to be able to sign Josh ... We knew that was a strong possibility, but it was a risk we were willing to take, because of his potential."

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The Pirates ended up luring Bell from his commitment at the University of Texas by giving him $5 million, a record for a second-round pick. They aren't going to be able to do things like that anymore, unfortunately, due to the restrictions on draft spending in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In the meantime, though, they ended up with the best pitching prospect (Gerrit Cole) and one of the best hitting prospects in the draft.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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