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At least Dodgers' gamble on first-round pick Zach Lee will leave 'em talking

June 7, 2010 |  8:52 pm
Heh-heh-heh, what a great pick.

No matter what happens, right-hander Zach Lee is going to prove a tremendous draft choice for Dodgers’ fans.

He’ll serve as a lightning rod for those cynical types who see darkness in every move the Dodgers make, or for those who bleed true blue and are certain everything is done with the purest of intentions.

Lee, understand, is not your average draft pick. Besides being a great pitching prospect, he is also a big-time college football prospect.

He has already signed a letter of commitment to play quarterback, and baseball, next season at LSU.

Lee is considered by most as one of the most unsignable players in the draft. He was partially available to the Dodgers with the 28th pick because other teams were leery of what it would cost to steer him away from LSU.

ESPN.com said Lee is reportedly seeking more than $5 million to sign, a lot of money for a 28th pick.

Now if you’re the negative type, convinced Frank McCourt is slashing payroll while going through his bitter divorce and not about to spend big on a high school kid, this pick makes perfect sense:

 "They picked him knowing they won’t sign him. Come September, he’ll be throwing spirals for Les Miles. The pick is a fraud. There’s no way Frank pops for this kid when he won’t even spend to sign a proven starter.’’

Of course, if you believe the Dodgers would never be so stupid as to actually waste a first-round pick then it’s more like:

  "What a tremendous pick. A steal, really. The Dodgers will win this kid over and he’ll prove the right-handed Clayton Kershaw. When everyone else was shaking, the Dodgers stepped up.’’

The man in charge of the draft for the Dodgers, assistant general manager Logan White, is naturally in the second camp. White said he is optimistic Lee could be signed and has McCourt’s full support.

``I know this, I’m optimistic we’re going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done,’’ White said.

``I understand the concern. I’ve always tried to take the best player. If I think the player is the 28th best player in the country, we certainly pay him like the 28th player. But if I think his ability is a little bit better than that, we certainly recognize that.’’

The Dodgers’ roster is dotted with players previously selected by White -- Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Blake DeWitt and Kershaw -- and he believes that not only has  won McCourt’s confidence but will catch Lee’s attention.

``Frank’s always been very aware of what we’re doing and what’s going on,’’ White said. ``He’s very much a big supporter and very on board with it.

``I don’t mean it bragging, but when you look at our major league team and what we’ve been able to do with the draft and the international signs, you see why he’s a supporter.’’

--Steve Dilbeck
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