— Jon SooHoo (@JonSooHooPics) July 17, 2015
By Jon Weisman
Hours before they started the second half of their season in Washington, the Dodgers met the deadline for singing players from the 2015 amateur draft by locking up first-round draft choice Walker Buehler, sixth-rounder Edwin Rios and 30th-rounder Logan Crouse.
Buehler’s signing came amid some media reports today that he had an elbow issue.
“We’re not going to comment on anything medically related to Walker,” Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “We’re obviously excited to have him on board. He finished the college season strong, obviously pitched in the College World Series.”
Rios, who had a .421 on-base percentage and .591 slugging percentage with 18 home runs in 61 games for Florida International in his junior season this year, was the only corner infielder in the first 10 rounds of Dodger draft selections. Negotiations went down to the wire.
“We went really pitching heavy,” Zaidi said, “so being able to get a college bat with some polish and hopefully the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup is exciting. It took a little bit of time to hammer out the deal, so the lost development time is unfortunate, but we’re obviously excited to have him now. We’ll start him out in Arizona and hopefully move out to one of the other clubs shortly thereafter.”
Among those choosing to return to school rather than sign was second-round draft pick Kyle Funkhouser, a right-handed pitcher from Louisville. The Dodgers will receive a compensation pick in next year’s draft for Funkhouser, the only player in the first 10 rounds the Dodgers didn’t sign.
“On draft day, we got to the 35th pick, and he was the top guy on our board and we took him,” Zaidi said. “That’s how the draft is supposed to work. When it came time to negotiate, they felt like he was a top-10 pick, and our position was if he was a top-10 pick, he would have been picked there. Ultimately, we made what we thought was an aggressive offer. We went above slot. … They thought it was in best interest of Kyle to go back to school, and that’s the decision they reached. They notified us this morning, and we wish him the best of luck. He’s obviously a good pitcher and good prospect, and we expect him to have a very strong senior year and come back to the top of the draft next year I’m sure.
“As far as us and our flow of talent over the next 24 months, we’re obviously heavily invested in the international talent pool between now and the end of this signing period. So deferring a draft pick from this year while we’re doing a heavy investment of not just money but money as well internationally to next year … is actually sort of a nice way to balance the talent flow, and the dollar flow, frankly.”
Zaidi also noted that Hector Olivera has “no timetable” for arriving with the Dodgers or even Triple-A Oklahoma City, as the Dodgers are taking a conservative approach with rehabilitating his hamstring injury.
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In other pregame notes, the Dodgers said that Brandon Beachy would start Monday in Atlanta, followed by Brett Anderson and then Mike Bolsinger. Carlos Frias is not ready to come off the disabled list, though it made sense anyway to see how Beachy would do in his second start.
Don Mattingly also told reporters that Carl Crawford would play through Sunday on his rehab assignment in Triple-A Oklahoma City, seemingly paving the way for a Monday return to the active Major League roster.
Erisbel Arruebarrena has moved up to Double-A Tulsa, and newly claimed Preston Guilmet made his Dodger debut Thursday with Oklahoma City.