When the Dodgers selected Texas high school pitcher and LSU-bound quarterback recruit Zach Lee with the 28th overall pick Monday night there was immediate speculation that they did so because he’s considered unsignable.
With owner Frank McCourt going through an ugly divorce the idea is that the Dodgers could take a compensation pick for failing to sign Lee and delay the investment of first-round money until next year.
Assistant general manager and draft boss Logan White denied those claims, saying the Dodgers have every intention of making a legitimate effort to sign Lee, but yesterday LSU football coach Les Miles issued a statement saying Lee has zero intention of signing:
Zach wants to come to LSU, get a degree and play football and baseball for the Tigers. I met with Zach and his parents today, and I think that they are looking at LSU as a great opportunity both academically and athletically. Zach is an outstanding student, and he’s excited about the college experience.
Miles added that Lee has enrolled in summer school, which would certainly seem odd for someone planning to sign for millions of dollars and begin playing pro baseball soon. It’s tough to blame White and the Dodgers for not fessing up to their plans, because surely MLB would frown on such behavior being laid out publicly, but for now at least what’s going on seems pretty clear.
Lee will play football (and baseball) at LSU, the Dodgers will save a couple million bucks this year, and they’ll get the No. 29 overall pick in next June’s draft as compensation for failing to sign a guy who everyone knew wasn’t going to sign.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.