Buehler, Funkhouser, others still unsigned from Dodgers’ draft class

We’re 10 days from the MLB Draft signing deadline, and the Dodgers have four of their first five selections remain unsigned. They’re all college guys (three of the four were in the College World Series) and one is a reported tougher sign than originally thought.

Now, Josh Sborz‘s girlfriend tweeted on Sunday that he signed, so I’m sure we’re just waiting for confirmation. Depending what he gets (let’s assume slot, for sake of discussion), the Dodgers are $703,400 over budget. For them to not incur a draft pick penalty, they have to get that number down to $389,084 (5 percent over, less $1). If they don’t save money on Sborz’s deal, then the savings is going to have to come from Philip Pfeifer‘s deal.

Round Player Slot Bonus Savings
1 Walker Buehler $2,094,400 unsigned
1s Kyle Funkhouser $1,756,100 unsigned
2 Mitchell Hansen $921,100 $997,500 ($76,400)
2c Josh Sborz $827,000 signed?
3 Philip Pfeifer $564,700 unsigned
4 Willie Calhoun $418,800 $347,500 $71,300
5 Brendon Davis $313,600 $918,600 ($605,000)
6 Edwin Rios $234,800 unsigned
7 Andrew Sopko $178,600 $147,500 $31,100
8 Tommy Bergjans $167,00 $17,500 $149,500
9 Kevin Brown $155,900 $2,500 $153,400
10 Logan Landon $149,700 $2,500 $147,200
11 Imani Abdullah $100,000 $647,500 ($547,500)
Total $7,781,700 $3,081,100 ($676,400)

Walker Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser are not going to be under-slot signs. There’s just no way. Both are juniors and could conceivably go back to to school — especially Buehler, who had a great College World Series showing.

Edwin Rios has also, curiously, not yet signed. He wasn’t expected to be a tough sign (perhaps a money-saving sign), yet he’s still not officially a Dodger. Hoping that changes soon.

Outside of Brendon Davis’ surprisingly high bonus, I was really surprised to see how much Imani Abdullah received. I knew it’d take more than the allotted $100,000 to get him signed, but the Dodgers went more than half a million over to get him. It’s the largest post-10th-round bonus the Dodgers have given to a draftee under the current rules (established in prior to the 2012 draft).

The penalty for going more than 5 percent over the draft bonus pool are more stringent than the July 2 penalties. If a team goes over by 5-9.99 perecnt, said team will lose its 1st-round draft pick for the next year. If a team goes over by 10-14,99 percent, it loses its 1st- and 2nd-round picks the following year. If a team goes over by 15 percent, it loses its 1st-round draft picks in the next two drafts.

Seeing as you can’t trade non-competitive balance picks and the odds of landing a quality future major-leaguer fall dramatically after the first round, that would be a major blow. Now, the baseball ops department probably has this all figured out as to avoid any such penalty, but if it doesn’t, then the Dodgers blew it by not taking a ton of high-upside players.

For example: If the Dodgers thought Buehler and Funkhouser were going to be tough signs and they were OK with forfeiting their first pick in the next two years, they should have popped guys like Daz Cameron (who went 37th), Michael Matuella (who went in the third round) and Donny Everett (who went in the 29th round) and just offered them tons of money to sign. That’s the extreme version. If they’re OK with forfeiting their pick next year to make sure they get both Buehler and Funkhouser signed, then so be it.

Since that sounds inefficient and not smart, it leads me to believe the front office and scouting department have things under control. I’d be awfully surprised if the Dodgers don’t sign the likes of Buehler and Funkhouser. I’d be awfully surprised if they did so while having to give up draft picks.

There are smarter people than us running the Dodgers and taking into account all these factors. The Dodgers came close to going over their pool in 2013, but ultimately did not. I’m sure the same thing will play out here.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.