Dodgers: Divorce won't affect draft

LOS ANGELES -- Logan White, the Dodgers' assistant general manager for scouting, knew the question was coming on the eve of baseball's amateur draft. It is the question that always comes these days when you're talking about the Dodgers, whose owner, Frank McCourt, is in the midst of an expensive divorce.

But yes, White said, he does have enough money at his disposal to sign the players he drafts over the next two days -- especially because the Dodgers, as a consequence of going to their second consecutive National League Championship Series last fall, don't pick until late in the first round.

"I think sometimes people tend to misunderstand or misinterpret that just because we're not spending the same amount of money as certain other clubs, the reality of it is that we're picking 28th," White said. "If somebody goes out and signs Stephen Strasburg for $15 million, well, right there, they're $15 million ahead of us already."

Signing bonuses for draft picks tend to drop dramatically after the first 15.

This year's draft class doesn't appear to be an especially deep one, and there probably isn't a player of the caliber of Strasburg, whom the Washington Nationals signed to a four-year, $15 million major league deal after taking him with the first overall pick last year. The Nationals have the first pick again and are likely to take Bryce Harper, a junior college catcher/outfielder out of Southern Nevada.

The Dodgers, who have taken high school pitchers with their first pick in five of the eight drafts White has conducted for the club, stand a good chance of doing the same.

"The odds are always good that you'll be looking at a high school pitcher just because that seems to be what the draft has the most of," White said. "Obviously, the biggest thing is trying to separate them out. We feel comfortable taking [high school] pitchers because while some teams are afraid of them, we have had good luck with them.

"We took [Chad] Billingsley and [Jonathan] Broxton, and now one of them is a front-line starter and the other is our closer, and they have certainly been a big reason we have gotten to the playoffs."

Of those first-round high school pitchers White has taken, Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are mainstays in the Dodgers' starting rotation, and a third, left-hander Scott Elbert, has some major league service time. The other two, Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin, came in 2007 and 2008 and probably are at least a year away from being ready for the majors.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.