MLB player agent Scott Boras "despises what he has seen" from MLB's new draft rules that place "significant limitations on clubs' spending," according to Nightengale & White of USA TODAY. Boras said, "There was all forms of artificial behavior in the draft. The purpose of the draft is that it's supposed to create parity in the game. You want teams with the greatest needs to get the best available talent. That has not been achieved in this draft. It's created a mockery." Nightengale & White note that as part of MLB's new CBA, there is a "cap on total money paid through the first 10 rounds of the draft." The new system "might have wreaked havoc on the very top of the draft." Stanford P Mark Appel, who is being advised by Boras, "was forecast to be the No. 1 pick in the draft." But the Astros, with the first pick, instead selected SS Carlos Correa out of Puerto Rico. Astros Owner Jim Crane said yesterday that the club "had reached an oral agreement with Correa, who is expected to receive a bonus" in the $4.0-4.5M range, far less than the $7.2M slot for the first pick. The Pirates selected Appel with the eighth pick, and the "plummet lowers Appel's slot" to $2.9M. It is "unknown whether Appel will consider signing with the Pirates." Cubs draftee OF Albert Almora, the first Boras client selected this year at No. 6 overall, said that his "main priority" was his scholarship offer from the Univ. of Miami. Nightengale & White: "Translation: The $3.25 million figure for that draft slot probably won't be enough" (USA TODAY, 6/7).
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Crane suggested yesterday that his club's under-slot agreement with Correa "will help the Astros sign some of the more demanding high school players they drafted." Crane said, "We've approved the amount, and we hope that he'll sign this agreement and pass the physical." Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said that no deal "was in place before the draft (such an agreement would be against the rules), but he got a good understanding of what it would take." In Houston, Zachary Levine noted the Astros have $11.2M "to put toward their first 11 picks, with any overages costing them a tax and/or forfeiture of picks." Anything under the slot value of $7.2M "for the first pick can help them keep tough-to-sign players" (CHRON.com, 6/6).
HUFFING AND PUFFING: In Chicago, Phil Rogers notes while the Cubs "paid as much due diligence to Almora as anyone else in the 2012 draft," President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer and Senior VP Jason McLeod "apparently missed one or two factors." Either Almora "doesn't want to play for the Cubs or he doesn't care how he comes across to Cubs fans, and neither is a good thing." But Rogers writes, "I don't think anyone should overreact, because Almora almost certainly is going to sign with the Cubs before the July 13 deadline. That's what I think, anyway. But it's always smart to listen when Boras -- or, in this case, a Boras client -- is talking. Almora has taken the first step into the territory of J.D. Drew/Philadelphia Phillies, circa 1998, and nobody wants to go there." Boras was "beside himself after the draft spending limits were announced in November." Rogers: "So how far will he go to challenge the changes the players union, long under the influence of the most powerful agents, signed off on?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/7).