Boras in town to wrap up Appel negotiations
Scott Boras, who represents No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel, arrived in Houston on Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to meet with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow later in the evening in an effort to wrap up negotiations.
The Astros took Appel, a right-handed pitcher and Houston native who didn’t sign with the Pirates after being taken in the first round last year, with hopes they could sign him quickly. Boras told MLB.com no agreement has been reached, but the agent’s presence in Houston is a clear sign a deal is imminent.
“Jeff and I are going to talk about things tonight and we’ll see,” Boras said. “We’re certainly close enough for me to come here and talk, that’s for sure.”
When asked if a deal could be announced as early as Wednesday, Boras said he didn’t want to put a timetable on negotiations.
“Obviously, we’re in a position we think we can work something out,” he said.
The Astros have signed six of their top 10 picks, including second-round pick Andrew Thurman from UC-Irvine, who officially signed on Monday. The assigned slot value for the No. 1 pick is $7.8 million, but several reports late last week indicated Appel could sign for somewhere around $6.5 million.
Regardless, Boras doesn’t see money as a stumbling block.
“I’m here because I think there’s obviously enough fruit on the tree to think you’re going to get something done,” Boras told MLB.com.
Appel’s decision to return to Stanford after being picked No. 8 overall by Pittsburgh last year, bypassing a $3.8 million bonus, has paid off. He was actually better than he was as a junior at Stanford, finishing 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA, a .203 batting average against, 130 strikeouts and just 23 walks in 106 1/3 innings this year.
And being drafted by the Astros, the team he cheered for as a kid, has been a dream come true, Boras said.
“I don’t think there’s any question from the start that if Houston was an option, he wanted to pursue it, being able to have his family near and being raised an Astros fan,” Boras said. “Mark Appel got to go to a great college and his work ethic and perseverance and confidence in himself says a lot about the character that he takes the path he takes.
“Whenever you’re able to get better and go through the process he went through in the last year, it says a lot about why Houston took him and a lot about why he chose Houston.”