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2011 MLB Draft: Will Gerrit Cole And Josh Bell Sign With Pirates?

With the deadline to sign MLB draft picks approaching Monday night, the Pirates are still "optimistic" about their chances of signing first overall pick Gerrit Cole and second-round pick Josh Bell.

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"We remain optimistic on Cole and Bell," Huntington said. "The process continues. It is what it is, and it's a far from ideal process, but we follow through and do everything we can to have it turn out in a positive direction for us and for the players."

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Cole will likely wait until the last possible second to sign, but he'll sign - however much the Pirates offer him, he's the first overall pick, and he isn't likely to be able to wrangle more money out this situation later.

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Bell is a different story. He fell to the Pirates in the second round only because he claimed he was planning to go to college. He did pick Scott Boras to be his advisor this year, and he's going to have several million dollars thrown at him, so he might sign, but he has said he wants to go to the University of Texas, regardless of the money. Other than picking Boras, he has shown few signs of going back on that. (Although that in itself isn't hugely surprising, since Boras clients rarely sign until right before the deadline.) The Pirates will get a compensation pick next year if they don't sign him, but it would be much better if they did - he's a lot better than the typical second-round pick, and as the Trib points out, there isn't a lot of offensive firepower in their system.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.