It's $how Me the Money Time

Now that the drafting is finished, it's signing time and for starters that means the Dodgers certainly neither want to nor expect to go through anything like they did with last year's No. 1 pick Luke Hochevar.

From his lofty perch as the number one selection, Luke couldn't resist taking some parting shots at the Dodgers in general and scouting director Logan White in particular. White, on the other hand, took the high ground and wished Luke well with Kansas City. Maybe someday the whole story of that negotiating morass will come out and, if it does, Hochevar will appear smurf sized.

The Dodgers didn't bother negotiating with Scott Boras for Luke's services at the end because, among other things, they felt they could use the money more wisely on the 2006 choices, especially the threesome they had coming in the first round. So, what will it take to get them?

You can be assured that they had discussions with Clayton Kershaw before they even named him as the No. 7 selection on Tuesday. He is expected to get the going rate for such a position which is around $2.7 million. L.A. knows and agrees to that amount so the signing should be relatively painless as Clayton has expressed a desire to get matters over with quickly as well.

Bryan Morris, the Dodgers' second pick at slot 26, turned down third-round money from Tampa Bay last year, saying he wanted at least $1 million and did the same at the end of his junior college season in May when the Devil Rays held the line. Since the slot where he was selected went for $1.3 million last year, he should get his wish.

In the case of Preston Mattingly, the Dodgers made sure he wouldn't be so Yankee oriented that he'd turn his back on them. Preston doesn't feel that way at all, saying publicly, "Sure, it would have been cool to be a Yankee because of my father (pinstripe legend Don) but I just want to prove I can get to the big leagues on my own."

The going price at slot #31 where he was picked is around $1 million so he, too, should be more than satisfied monetarily. Incidentally, there are those who think his selection was a reach but White knows his players and feels Preston's athleticism and pedigreed will carry him to the top. And, remember, the Dodgers didn't have a second or third round pick so if they didn't pull the trigger when they did, he'd have been gone for there was no way he'd last beyond round 3.

When they did get to round four, they took Kyle Orr, considered the best prospect in Canada. Although listed as an outfielder, they see him as a future first baseman but mainly they think he has bigtime power potential. He has a scholarship to the University of Kentucky that he'll have to be swayed away from. Money at the position he was taken is around $300,000.

Fifth-rounder Kyle Smit, a Nevada high schooler, is a righthander with an electric arm. The price in his range is around $200,000. Garret White, the closer for Ole Miss, was the sixth-round choice. The Dodgers feel he could be a strong left arm from the bullpen down the road. The money in his case should be around $150,000.

They like the bat of first baseman Jorge Ortiz in the seventh round where $100,000 usually gets the man.

Some of those taken below could prove to be hard if not impossible signs for they dropped down only because most clubs think they 're a bit too pricey. It is White's custom to take such players, then make a run at them if he has the money and they prove that desirable. He's had success as he did with Scott Van Slyke and Steve Johnson last year but sometimes they prove intent on college like Joe Savery and David Price did.

In that group this time are first baseman Andre D'Alessio (10), shortstop Nick Akins (13), righthander Alex White (14), righthander Martin Beno (19), second baseman Kody Kaiser (26)and third baseman Brett Sowers (47).

Most of the collegians taken are seniors so they have to accept the offer or find another way of making a living. Those include outfielder Tommy Giles from Miami (8), shortstop Justin Fuller from Lewis & Clark (11), second baseman Michael Rivera from Tennessee (17) righthander Joe Jones from Portland (18), outfielders Matt Berezay from Pacific (21) and Chris Jensen from UCLA (22), catchers John Martin from Emporia State (24) and Esteban Lopez from Hawaii (25).

Both second baseman Curt Bradley from Northern Iowa (33) and righthander Jordan Chambless from Texas A & M (43) are drat -eligible sophomores but both also play football for their schools. To straighten out one matter, Bradley's father is former major league outfielder Phil not Bill as earlier reported; however, the Dodgers spell his first name with a K" and the school website uses a "C". So, who's right ? Probably won't sign, anyway.

They expect, however, that the ones taken at the front of the line will. And that's the important thing.