I find this so crazy that I’ve got to start a new post for this.
On August 11, 2010, Marc Lancaster of Fanhouse reported this:
Remember when the Dodgers were one of baseball’s most respected franchises? Yeah, it’s difficult to take them too seriously these days given some of the shenanigans in which they have participated the last few years under the auspices of the McCourts.
Well, it appears they’re at it again. When the Dodgers used their first-round pick on Texas high school pitcher Zach Lee back in June, just about everyone immediately pegged it as a cost-saving move, given that Lee was a mortal lock to attend college at LSU. The Los Angeles front office said all the right things at the time, but if this story is to be believed, drafting Lee was exactly what it seemed: L.A. picking a guy it knew wouldn’t sign, thus saving a few million this year and picking up a compensatory pick in next year’s draft — when more cash might be available at Chavez Ravine — for good measure.
Lee was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country and has been in Baton Rouge since the day after the draft, apparently focused on nothing but preparing for the upcoming football season. That probably would have been his focus anyway, but it helps that, according to Lee, he hasn’t heard from the Dodgers since draft day.
“I haven’t really heard anything from them,” Lee said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m here to stay until something else happens. And I don’t really see it happening.”
Like lots of Frank McCourt haters here, Lancaster was castigating McCourt for taking a draft pick that he had no intention of signing. Then out of the clear blue sky, the Dodgers signed Zach Lee for a whopping $5.25 mil. So, there is joy in Dodgertown, right? Wrong! The Frank McCourt haters, who of course are the same people who said he wouldn’t spend money to sign draft picks, let alone Zach Lee, now are spinning a different story, and say that McCourt decided to overpay by $3 or 4 million as a PR move. These people may be smart, but their hatred of Frank McCourt has overridden their common sense, and all I can say is that’s about the lamest thing I have heard in a long time. Oh, and they are saying that the Dodgers overpaid for a player who really wasn’t that good anyway – that he wasn’t Top-of-the-Draft material. WOW!
Let me address that last part first. MLB.com had this to say about Zach Lee:
With above-average to plus stuff across the board — fastball, slider, changeup — good command and tremendous athleticsm, Lee should be one of the high school arms being mentioned up close to the top of the Draft, or at least on a short list of top high school arms. If he’s not, it’s largely because of one thing: signability.
Jim Callis of Baseball America said this:
Remember, bonuses are based on talent and leverage. Lee had more leverage than just about any player in this draft, because he’s a gifted pitcher who was also a top quarterback. You could make a case that Lee was the second-best high school pitcher in this draft behind Jameson Taillon. If money weren’t a factor, I bet he would have gone 10-15 picks higher in the draft.
When asked how he compared to Kershaw and Billingsley, Callis said:
Behind Kershaw and ahead of Billingsley. Lee is a potential frontline starter. Projectable, athletic righthander with sharp stuff.
BA went on to name the Dodgers winners in the draft, not just because of Lee, but because of their other signings as well, some of which were paid significantly well over MLB slotting.
Tallion went #2 in the draft and got $6.25 mil, but he did not have the leverage Lee did. So, if the Dodgers wanted to make a good PR move, why draft the guy who was deemed the most unsignable? Why not draft a guy like the Angels or Giants or Rockies and pay about $1.4 to $2.3 mil? McCheap could have saved $3 or so mil. It was a big risk to draft Lee and it did take over $5 mil. They didn’t draft Lee because they wanted good PR – they drafted Lee because he was a Top 10 talent who they could get at #28 in the draft. That was a smart move, not a PR move. Get 20 good knowledgeable baseball fans in a room and spin that story on them and they will laugh you out of the room!
But the McCourt bashers, who would have bashed McCourt if he didn’t sign Lee, now bash him because he did sign him. You guys are just never wrong. You always get it right no matter what Frank does. It just find it so pathetic that everything he does has to be explained in a negative light. I don’t particularly like the guy, but Lee was drafted to be signed and you McCourt bashers were piling on that the Dodgers would not sign Lee, and now that they have, they only did it for the PR? Come on. You have to be smarter than that!
The Dodgers drafted Zach Lee because he was probably the 2nd best high school pitcher in the draft and you will probably see him at a Ravine near you around 2012!