In March, I wrote that international spending needs to be a priority for the new owners, referencing the Dodgers disappearing presence on the international stage and also their lack of draft spending. Well, so far, so good.
From 2007 to 2011, the Dodgers draft budget ranked 26th in the league, which is incomprehensibly low for a team that was still in the upper tier as far as payroll was concerned. Couple that with their lack of investment in the international market, and it was a recipe made in player development hell. Considering the constraints in place, Logan White, Kim Ng, and De Jon Watson did remarkably well to pump out MLB talent and hold the system at respectable levels even after years of neglect, but change was absolutely needed. Luckily, it seems to have come.
Whether you agree with their moves or not, it’s hard to argue that the new owners aren’t trying. The controversial inking of Yasiel Puig put the team back on the map, and they have already spent on other international prospects as well. As the Dodgers re-enter the market in earnest, it’ll be interesting to watch the coming years to see if they can score more name prospects than before, especially now that connections are more important than ever with the implementation of an international spending cap in the new CBA.
Then there’s the matter of the draft, where according to Baseball America, the Dodgers ranked fourth in draft spending relative to their bonus pool allotment in 2012. The team went almost $200,000 over the limit, resulting in a tax of about $150,000. Also, the team signed a record percentage of draft picks while under Ned Colletti.
So despite the ownership’s efforts coming off as more of a public relations ploy at times, the player development focus thus far can only be considered a success.