The Pittsburgh Pirates have made substantial progress in contract talks with 2010 1st round pick Jameson Taillon and the two sides are nearing an agreement as talks concluded late Sunday afternoon for the day.
The deal is officially expected to be finalized by early Monday afternoon. According to a source close to the situation, the two sides have agreed on a signing bonus in the low $6 million range which is viewed as a major win inside the Pirates organization.
The signing bonus Taillon will receive is nearing the highest total in Pirates history but does not exceed the $6.35 million signing bonus, MLB contract Pedro Alvarez signed in 2008, according to team sources.
Taillon was seeking a signing bonus upwards of $6.7 million, the amount Donovan Tate, highest drafted high school player (3rd overall, 2009 draft) signed for last season.
GM Neal Huntington and Randy Hendricks held their first set of substantive talks Saturday morning and quickly laid the framework for a deal. Talks quickly intensified throughout most of the day on Saturday
Taillon was widely regarded inside the industry to sign. Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, GM Neal Huntington went into the weekend with about $9 million to spend as a substantial amount of that money was expected to go towards Taillon and a lesser extent to second round pick Stetson Allie.
Not including Taillon, the Pirates have three more offers on the table, including an agreement reached with 15th round pick Drew Maggi as negotiations continue with their draft picks.
As of 7:00 p.m., the Pirates though were not close to a deal with Stetson Allie. Allie not Taillon was expected to be the harder sign.
Progress has been made today but the two sides still have some work to do when talks resume Monday morning.
However, indications from both sides is that a deal will likely be struck but talks with Allie are not at the near completion stage that the Taillon “talks” are in.
The Pirates are offering a signing bonus worth more than $2 million. Recommended slot value is well under $1 million.
A league contact expects Allie to settle for a signing bonus worth close to $2.5 – $2.85 million. Allie was initially seeking a signing bonus in the $4-$5 million range which is why the hard throwing right hander fell to the Pirates at No. 52.
The Pirates have gone into negotiations with the mindset of signing both players but there isn’t an immediate pressure inside the organization that they have to sign both players.
“We feel good about our chances of coming to an agreement, GM Neal Huntington said today.
“The risk is always there that we won’t, with the top two picks, the alternative becomes same-slot picks next year. That’s not a bad alternative. It’s not ideal….. It’s something we’re going to work very hard to avoid. But having the third pick in next year’s draft, given the college arms and bats out there, and getting the 53rd pick … it’s not the end of the world, ” Huntington added.