Dodgers Pass on Blair

Major League Baseball kept prodding clubs not to rock the boat concerning adherence to signing bonuses for draft choices But on the final day that players could be signed, teams not only rocked it, they tipped it over so it sank like the Titanic. Only the Dodgers walked away with dry feet, declining to meet the demands of the player they coveted.

Every first-rounder that had been held out by his advisor signed Wednesday as teams threw money after them so fast that, not only was the suggested slot money left far behind but the size of bonuses actually increased from last year.

The Dodgers weren't looking at their first-rounder, of course. He's long been in the fold. They were concerned with righthander Kyle Blair , who has admitted first-round talent but who slid to the fifth round because of signing concerns And the Blair camp held to that standard throughout.

Supposedly they were asking in the neighborhood of $1.1 million. The Dodgers weren't talking fifth-round money (about $150, 000 ) but they weren't willing to go where the Blair people wanted them, either. So, all shook hands and walked away with Kyle probably headed to the University of San Diego on a scholarship. He won't be draft-eligible again until 2010.

As matters turned out, the only time the Dodgers did rock the boat they did it gently when they gave sixth-round money ($123,000) to another pitcher, Timothy Sexton, who had dropped down to the 25th round.

Blair was the only player among the Dodgers top choices who failed to sign. The bonuses they handed the others were in conformance with the standards that Major League Baseball asked:

Round
1- Chris Withrow, rhp. $1,350, 000
1 (supplemental)- James Adkins, lhp. $787,000
2- Michael Watt, lhp. $390,000
3- Austin Gallagher, 3b. $250,000
4- Andrew Lambo, of. $164,000
5- Blair
6- Justin Miller, rhp. $120,000
7- Danny Danielson, rhp. $119,500
8- Alex Garabedian, c. $80,000
9- Jaime Pedroza, ss. $70,000
10- Erik Kanaby, of. $50,000.

In all they signed 22 of the 40 players they selected, a rather typical number. But now, under the new rules, they won't have any draft-and-follows to be concerned with. All who failed to sign drop back into the draft pool.

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