Open dialogue between Pirates, Josh Bell’s family members

Source: Pirates to offer signing bonus exceeding $4.25 million
2nd round pick Josh Bell has told anyone who will listen that he is not yet ready to begin playing professional baseball and will attend the University of Texas.

He went as far as to write a letter to each of the 30 major-league teams earlier this year telling them not to draft him because he planned to honor his letter of intent to play at the University of Texas.
While the Pirates believe Bell is serious about going to college and not just a ploy from advisor Scott Boras, Bell is at least listening to the Pirates sales pitch, according to source involved in the situation.
Within the past week, there has been open dialogue between the two sides. The Pirates have had a lot of contact with Josh Bell’s family members of late and less contact with Scott Boras thus far.
The Pirates have wanted just a chance to make their pitch and they are getting it, which had been the organizations hope.
The Pirates have the 6-foot-3, 195-pound switch-hitter from Dallas Jesuit High School as their top priority and are serious about offering top-10 money in the hopes of bringing Bell into the organization.
One high ranking official told Inside Pittsburgh Sports on Wednesday that the Pirates are prepared to offer a signing bonus exceeding $4.25 million.
Last year they gave second round pick Stetson Allie, a $2.25 million signing bonus.
“We feel we can sign him {Josh Bell}. We feel we can convince him to play for us. We wouldn’t have drafted him if we didn’t think we could sign him, ” GM Neal Huntington said.
The Pirates will receive a compensatory pick at the start of the second round in next year’s draft if they fail to reach an agreement with Bell. However, Huntington said that had only a “minor role” in selecting Bell.
“We feel he has a chance to be an outstanding big-league player,” Huntington said in June.
The Pirates had Bell rated as a top-10 prospect on their draft board and felt he was just too good to pass up.
Bell was rated as the 15th-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America. He hit .548 with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs, 54 runs scored and a1.054 slugging percentage in 139 at-bats this spring while striking out just five times in leading Jesuit to the Texas state Class 5A semifinals.
Bell has been switch-hitting since he was 5 years old and has outstanding power and the ability to hit for average from both sides of the plate. He figures to be limited to a corner outfield spot in professional baseball but his arm could be good enough to play right field rather than relegating him strictly to left.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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