Astros close to signing No. 1 pick Mark Appel

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Last year, after falling from projected No. 1 pick to No. 8 pick Mark Appel and agent Scott Boras played hardball with the Pirates, turning down $3.8 million to go back to school for his senior season.

This year Appel went No. 1 overall to the Astros–who passed on him in 2012–and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the two sides are already close to a deal.

As a senior Appel can take his sweet time negotiating because the normal deadline doesn’t apply, but according to Passan “one club source expects Appel to be signed by the middle of next week.”

No word yet on the money, but the slot amount for the No. 1 pick is $7.8 million or more than double what the Pirates offered Appel last year. Returning to Stanford for his senior season carried a ton of risk for Appel, but it’s tough to argue that it didn’t work out exactly as he (and Boras) planned.

After experiencing his first draft as the Astros’ pro scouting director former Baseball Prospectus writer Kevin Goldstein talked to Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller about life behind the scenes and how the decision to draft Appel came down to the wire. Interesting stuff, so check it out.

Report: Diamondbacks sign Jarrod Dyson to two-year, $7.5 million contract

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Jarrod Dyson to a two-year contract. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the deal is worth $7.5 million.

Dyson, 33, spent last season with the Mariners. He hit an underwhelming .251/.324/.350, but stole 28 bases while playing superb defense in center field.

Dyson doesn’t quite make up for the Diamondbacks losing J.D. Martinez, who just signed with the Red Sox, but he will bring some speed and defense to the outfield along with A.J. Pollock. It’s not quite clear how the D-Backs plan to utilize Dyson. That should be made clear after the deal is announced.