New Dodgers Ownership Placing Emphasis On Finding International Talent
The Dodgers’ int'l strategy has been "a less-publicized aspect of their transformation" since Guggenheim Partners formally took control of the club, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSPORTS.com. But "look carefully ... and there's a global subtext to some of the team’s most important moves in recent months." Cuban OF Yasiel Puig "signed a seven-year, $42 million contract in June" and two months later the Dodgers traded for 1B Adrian Gonzalez. He arrived in the "midst of an effort to strengthen the franchise’s brand in Mexico and among Mexican-Americans, three decades after the Fernando Valenzuela phenomenon." The Dodgers earlier this month "hired the universally respected" Bob Engle as VP/Int'l Scouting. And with him in place, "the Dodgers plan to blanket the map with scouting hires in Asia, Latin America and even Europe." Most recently, the team "learned over the weekend that they had submitted the winning bid -- $25.7 million -- for the negotiating rights" to South Korean P Ryu Hyun-Jin. Taken together, the investments "are a dramatic and welcome shift." Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said, "This is very rewarding for the people who stayed with this through the tough times, when they felt deep down that we didn't have chances to sign players." Morosi wrote, "In a very real way, the effort marked a return to the Dodgers' multicultural identity" (FOXSPORTS.com, 11/12).
WAITING GAME: Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten yesterday said that the team could "wait until after the winter meetings to decide whether to sign" Ryu. In L.A., Bill Shaikin notes if the Dodgers "do not sign him by Dec. 10," they get their $25.7M negotiating rights fee back. It is "unlikely they would damage their expanded presence in international baseball by failing to sign him" (L.A. TIMES, 11/13). In California, Bill Plunkett noted the Dodgers "have already spent at least" $77M on Puig and Ryu to "demonstrate their renewed commitment to searching the globe for talent." But they "emphasized that commitment Monday by announcing the hiring of six scouts to a reconstructed international scouting department." All six "have ties" to Engle from his time with the Mariners (OCREGISTER.com, 11/12).