Happy MLB Draft signing deadline day, or something. The Dodgers are in uncharted waters, as three of their Top 10 round selections are still unsigned, including their two 1st-rounders Walker Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser.
The Dodgers did well to save significant money on the Josh Sborz and Philip Pfeifer signings ($446,700). They have $71,579 in extra money to use without losing their 2016 1st-round pick. That probably isn’t enough to sign Funkhouser, and it’s probably not enough to sign Buehler, either. That means the Dodgers will have to get some savings from 6th-rounder Edwin Rios, whose slot-recommended bonus amount is $234,800. Why it’s taking him so long to sign is unknown, but any savings for him will have to be applied to one of the 1st-rounders.
The only way the Dodgers sign Buehler and Funkhouser is if one of them signs for closer to slot. Jon Heyman wrote this morning that the Dodgers have offered Funkhouser about $2 million, which is almost $250,000 over slot.
Both Buehler and Funkhouser were projected to go higher in the draft than they did. Buehler was in contention for the Top 10, but I remember seeing him mocked as high as No. 13. Funkhouser was about the same. For argument’s sake, let’s just use that slot number (given to Garrett Whitley, one of the best prep position players in the draft). That amount was $2,962,100. There’s no financial way for the Dodgers to give either draftee that much money without facing draft pick-loss penalties.
Here’s a breakdown of the Dodgers’ signings to date.
If the Dodgers sign all three unsigned guys, the Dodgers can go $389,084 over budget without sacrificing their 2016 1st-rounder. If they sign just Buehler and Rios, that number falls to $301,279. If they sign Funkhouser and Rios, that number is $284,364. That is with the 5 percent (less $1) tax. Signing Rios to a value deal is becoming even more important at this stage.
Also something to consider: If the Dodgers don’t sign Buehler but sign Funkhouser, they’d receive a compensatory pick (No. 25) in next year’s draft. If they don’t sign Funkhouser but sign Buehler, they get no compensatory pick. If the Dodgers aren’t going to sign one of them, they might as well get compensated for it next year. While Buehler is the better overall prospect, I just don’t like the idea of basically throwing away a draft selection. Having said that: Buehler is far more likely to sign than Funkhouser.
Update (10:30 a.m.):
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 17, 2015
For what it’s worth, Kendall Rogers over at D1 Baseball had this to say about the Dodgers chances of landing some of their unsigned draftees.
“The only other unsigned first rounder is Louisville righthander Kyle Funkhouser, who like Buehler, was selected by the Dodgers. There’s buzz that Funkhouser isn’t afraid to return to Louisville for another season, but again, this is a deal that should get done by the deadline.”
“Florida International utility player Edwin Rios, the Dodgers sixth-round pick, is still unsigned, but is fully expected to sign by the deadline.”
“Illinois has gotten a huge boost this summer as impressive leader and catcher Jason Goldstein, and shortstop Adam Walton, likely are returning to the program for another season.”
and finally …
“South Florida should get a boost with the likely addition of C Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.). Genord, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, and 19th-round pick to the Dodgers is expected to remain unsigned past the deadline, but yet again, this is another situation to potentially watch as the deadline looms.”
If the Dodgers don’t make progress with Buehler or Funkhouser, maybe they come in at the last minute and offer Genord a larger-than-expected bonus to try to pry him away from South Florida.
The Dodgers gave Abdullah (who made his pro debut last night — 1 IP, 0 H, 1 K) a large bonus to sign, as he was a likely contingent plan if either 1st-rounder decided to go back to school. Davis also got a significant bonus. If the Dodgers don’t sign all three guys, it really isn’t the end of the world. But, it would be a bit of a gut-punch.
One last thing on Funkhouser: Someone in the comments section brought this up on or after draft day. This is from Funkhouser’s official bio.
“Favorite cereal is Cocoa Puffs. Favorite candy bar is 3 Musketeers. Favorite foods include deep dish pizza, hot dogs and grilled chicken.
Favorite restaurants are Olive Garden and Portillos.”
Funkhouser doesn’t have a sculpted physique by any means, and I’m not saying his dietary plan being laid out for him is a reason he might go back to school, but it’s just something to ponder. Gabe Kapler has (smartly) implemented a strict nutritional system for Dodger minor-leaguers. On this system, I doubt those things are available for consumption (save the grilled chicken — organic, of course). I don’t want to believe this is actually a thing and the Dodgers did their homework pre-draft about this stuff, but if he doesn’t sign, and one of the reasons is because of this stuff, it’d be pretty funny (and we’ll likely never know about it).
The signing deadline is at 2 p.m. I’ll have an update sometime after we figure out who did and didn’t sign.