The off-day Dejan Kovacevic describe the Alvarez situation in this report of his phone call with Scott Boras, a burly dude who wears black turtlenecks and expensive watches.
Boras argues that Alvarez is a can't-miss player, an elite prospect. He compares him to the best players he has represented out of the draft. (I wouldn't make comparison to J.D. Drew, if I were Boras, given the way he bungled the Philadelphia negotiations, but whatever.) Boras argues that the Pirates need to pay Alvarez a lot of money because it's a good investment for the Pirates. The Pirates, obviously, are balking at the high asking price. And they are of a mind to offer less each week that goes by without seeing Alvarez in the minor leagues getting ready for next year.
The Pirates got themselves into this situation by Losing. Littlefield avoided players like Alvarez in the draft, a plan with predictable bad results. One, the Pirates have not produced so many good players with their high draft picks, and a winning team team needs good players. So, two, the Pirates have been perpetual Losers. And three, the fans of the Pirates caught on to this cheap philosophy and have wisely demanded better from the new leadership.
Boras must know the pressure that the Pirates are under to pay what he wants for Alvarez. Here the new leadership pays a price for the incompetence of the old leadership. They are over a barrel. They have to sign this guy. They could not sign him, but this would surely perpetuate losing much more than the opportunity cost associated with overpaying for Alvarez.
The way to get out of this situation is not get into it. The truth of the matter is this. The Pirates do not want high draft picks. High draft picks are for Losers. Literally -- you have to lose a lot of games to get a draft pick capable of claiming a player like Pedro Alvarez. You lose that many games, get that high a draft pick, and then you pay the Loser's Fine to the Bad Man in the Black Turtleneck.
The Pirates need good players to stop Losing. So, obviously the way to solve the problem begins with getting the good player. Once they get the player, the next step is equally obvious: stop being such Losers. That's the only way to avoid getting into this situation again.