Star college pitcher Mark Appel is leaning toward turning down a contract offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates and returning to Stanford, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
Appel, who was projected by many to go with the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft, fell to Pittsburgh at No. 8, at least partly because of concerns over whether he would sign. The new slotting restrictions limit the Pirates' flexibility in trying to sign Appel. Pittsburgh has $6.56 million to sign its top-11 picks. If he had been selected No. 1 overall, Appel would have gotten somewhere around that amount in his deal alone. The large gap between those numbers made many expect the Pirates would have difficulty signing Appel. The two sides have until July 13 to reach a deal.