Dodgers going cheap; Rangers tightly constricted

Poor Logan White. 

Bill Shaikin presents an article detailing just how cheap the Dodgers have been with their draft and international signing budgets in recent years.  White tries to put a good face on it, but it's pretty obvious that the Dodgers are missing out on some talent due to the strict budget. 

The Dodgers no longer spend big bucks on free agents, so White and his staff must sign enough prospects to replenish the major league roster and provide General Manager Ned Colletti with a stash of trade chips as well. Yet the Dodgers also have stopped spending big bucks in the draft and abroad, effectively restricting White from signing some premium amateur talent.


Baseball America, the bible of player development, ranked the Dodgers among the top 10 in minor league talent from 2004 to 2008, then dropped that ranking to 23rd last year and 24th this year.

That happens, of course, when the likes of Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw graduate to the major leagues. That also happens, though, when the Dodgers spend the least of any major league club in the last two drafts, and when the Dodgers do not account for any of the 115 international signings over $100,000 in 2008.

"There's a difference between cheap and wise," White said. "I like to think we're wise."

What a good soldier. 

"We've tried to be a team player within MLB and address the unreasonable bonuses," White said, "and stay within what we feel is fair money for a pick.

Man, this guy is in serious denial.  I hope the team is in better shape soon, for the sake of Dodgers fans everywhere. It's a shame to see such a great talent evaluator have to work with his hands tied.

The Rangers have gone the opposite way the last few years.  Signing guys overslot, even in later rounds; taking advantage of extra draft picks in recent years by selecting the best talent and then paying for it; building a new Dominican academy and dramatically reinvigorating international scouting in Latin America and the Pacific Rim; and of course, a few astute trades that added some major chips.  The Rangers system went from 28th to 4th to 1st in BA's rankings.

But with the team sale stuck in limbo the Rangers have no money to work with.  The draft, trade deadline and international signing period are all being held hostage by Hicks' creditors.  Evan Grant at the Dallas Morning News reported last week that the team is so low on cash it may need to borrow from MLB to make payroll later this month.  (The team borrowed $16M last year.)  Oddly enough, Grant thinks this situation may actually help the sale move more quickly, as creditors realize that MLB is ahead of them in line for cash. If the team is forced into bankruptcy or taken over by the league, it might effect the Rangers' ability to add payroll into next season.  This sucks for a team entering a period of contention for the playoffs with lots of young talent on the rise.

Divorce and leveraging insanity, two good ways to ruin a team's ability to acquire talent.

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