Dodgers To Draft 15th in 2008

As they prepared to play the games on the final day of this past regular season, the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers had identical records. The Dodgers lost that game as they did so many in the stumble that was their September while the Brewers won. You might well have heard such news with a groan or, at least, a resigned sigh.

Actually, you should have greeted such an event for a slight smile for in this case, matters worked out to the Dodgers' decided advantage for by winning, the Brewers finished 15th in the overall standings of both leagues, the Dodgers, 16th. Reverse that order as they do for drafting purposes and the Dodgers will choose 15th, the Brew Crew, 16th.

And that's important for the rules give the teams that finish in the lower half of the standings a break- they don't lose their first-round draft choice if they sign a Type A free agent. You could sign, say, even Alex Rodriguez (if he goes the free agent route) and the most you could lose in your second-rounder.

Since there are 30 teams the Dodgers and Brewers are right on the cusp, the cutoff point. What's more, if both had won or both lost, thus finishing with identical records, the Brewers would have been placed lower because the tiebreaker calls for going to the preceding season and see how they fared. In that one, the Dodgers did better so they would have been moved behind Milwaukee for drafting purposes.

Now, though, they know they won't lose their shot at the 15th player to be chosen even should they decide to sign a Type A free agent. That's something they've indulged themselves in for three straight years now so it's entirely possible they'll do it again should they be able to get together with said player and terms.

In 2005, they gave up their first-round slot to the Red Sox for signing Derek Lowe. They, in turn, received the Mariners' second-rounder for losing Adrian Beltré, since Seattle was back in the pack. They also got a supplemental choice at the end of the first-round. They chose Luke Hochevar and we all know how that turned out. Choosing in Seattle's position in the second round, they took Ivan DeJesus, Jr.

In 2006, they themselves were buried back in the pack so they forfeited a second-rounder for Rafael Furcal and a third-round slot for Bill Mueller. But they retained their first-round position, which was No. 7 and used it for Clayton Kershaw.

This past June, once again, they yielded their own first-round position, this time to the Giants for signing Jason Schmidt but actually moved up a couple of positions to Boston's place when the Red Sox signed Julio Lugo. They grabbed Chris Withrow with that.

So, you see, for the most part, they've been able to make up for the draft losses by virtue of offering arbitration to a type A free agent of their own, who subsequently, signed with somebody else. If, however, arbitration isn't offered because a team considers him too pricey and doesn't want to run the risk of being forced to keep him at high figure, or for some other reason, they won't get the compensatory draft slots.

That's what happened to the Dodgers in two cases last year. They wouldn't meet Eric Gagné's contract demands so didn't offer arbitration to him. In the case of J. D. Drew, agent Scott Boras had a clause written in the sweetheart contract he had signed in which the club agreed not to offer arbitration. So, in both cases, they lost a type A without getting any compensation at all.

The player' ratings for the upcoming free agency period have yet to be released but there doesn't appear to be any the Dodgers might lose who'll fit that category. That means, of course, that finishing one game back of the Brewers in the overall standings might well turn out to be one of the season's highlights as far as L.A. is concerned.

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