According to this Steve Henson article on Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers are set to make a strong offer to first round pick Zach Lee. Lee, you may recall, is also an incoming freshman quarterback at Louisiana State University, more commonly (and fear-inspiringly) referred to as LSU. Notably, it came out a few days ago that the Dodgers had yet to even contact Lee, who was viewed as more and more of a lock to spurn the Dodgers for the Tigers. Not so fast my friend:
The Dodgers insist they are intent on locking up the 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher from McKinney (Texas) High School. They believe Lee’s clean mechanics, command of three pitches and superior feel for pitching make him an especially good gamble not only to become a major league pitcher but to enjoy a long and successful career.
The day of the draft, the Dodgers called Lee to inform him he’d been picked. Since then, Lee said, he’s never heard from them. It’s not for a lack of interest, however. The Dodgers felt that pressuring him, even bringing him to Los Angeles for the customary walk through the clubhouse and luxury box tickets, would be counterproductive.
Meanwhile, LSU football coach Les Miles released a statement after meeting with Lee following the draft that read in part: “He wants to come to LSU, get a degree and play football and baseball for the Tigers.”
The Dodgers wanted to avoid speaking for Lee because their assessment of his mental makeup is that he is strong-willed and independent enough to take offense to it. Lee is a good student and his parents want him to go to college. But sources said they will be open-minded when the Dodgers make their pitch.I get the mental image of Logan White rubbing his chin, murmuring "It's all going according to plan." And maybe that's exactly right. Maybe the Dodgers did read Lee just right, knowing that putting him through the dog-and-pony show most picks suffer would only serve to sour Lee on the organization. Heck, maybe they even worked a network of contacts and deduced--correctly, according to Henson's piece--that Lee would have a rougher go of LSU training camp than he might have expected.
I certainly hope that's true. But if you're to believe this article at Bleacher Report (warning: bring your salt shakers), the Dodgers are coming apart at the seams organizationally. But now that an end to the divorce drama is seemingly in sight, maybe the Dodgers are indeed willing to spend. And Lord knows the organization needs it; you know as well as I do there is next to no premium talent in the system. Pulling off a coup by signing the thought-unsignable Lee would be exactly the type of bold move the organization needs to replicate several times over to remain competitive on a budget.
Of course, it could just be smoke. The Dodgers want us to think they're not hamstrung when it comes to team spending, and the club has gone to great lengths before to convince us that is not the case. Getting Lee would be gratifying, both in the actual sense and also as representative that a corner might have been turned. If the Dodgers do sign Lee, don't view him as a savior. He's not Clayton Kershaw, and he's probably not Chad Billingsley. But, at the very least, he'd be a step in the right direction for a club that has neglected its farm system for far too long.
I'm suffering through some spotty internet access at the moment, and I'm very much looking forward to being back in Southern California for a week beginning tomorrow afternoon. Some of you have written in and asked if I had plans to get together with other folks interested in this situation. To be honest, I hadn't really thought of it. If you have interest in something along those lines, shoot me an e-mail and we'll see if anything can come together.