Sunday, December 04, 2005

Furcal agrees on terms with Dodgers

This is a surprising story in some respects...the Cubs seemed to be the forerunners for signing Furcal (5 years, $50 million), but the Dodgers swept in and offered a shorter contract with stronger money (3 years, $39.5 million).

The big deal? It's not necessarily the Dodgers signing Furcal that is important here (although, their infield, once Izturis returns, could be pretty strong depending upon how their youngster at 3B plays); rather, it's the fact that the Cubs didn't get Furcal that's important.

A quick look at the Cubs infield situation shows that they are not in bad shape by any means: to have Lee and Ramirez at the corners is one of the better situations in MLB, and getting rid of Garciaparra (to the free agent market!) is more of a blessing than a curse. But, how do the Cubs improve upon last year's middle infield? Neifi Perez is sticking around, as are Todd Walker and Jerry Hairston; but, Hairston may have to do double duty in the outfield given the Cubs' depletion out there (no more Burnitz, Patterson might be gone, and no depth on the bench in the outfield--the situation in RF is so bad that Ben Grieve is listed as starting right fielder on the Cubs depth chart).

The other factor: Juan Pierre. If the Cubs were to trade for Pierre, and had successfully signed Furcal from the market, the Cubs would arguably have improved their team, and become much more potent on the top of their line up...but alas, now a Pierre trade is a lot less of a big deal, and doesn't improve the team nearly as much as he would if he were to be coupled with Furcal.

So, the Cubs have their work cut out for them. Soon enough, I will work an analysis of the NL Central rosters to see how things are shaking up...

5 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

Hey Nick-
Just wanted to let you know that I am reading. Keep up the good work!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Furcal getting $13 mil per season is disgusting. He would have improved the Cubs roster, but there has to be better ways of spending that money.

Free agency is quickly becoming a bad way to improve your club.

I am a Moneyballer.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Nick Z. said...

Chuck, good point about free agency...I find it interesting to watch the various ways that clubs can improve their rosters, the best example of which is Doug Melvin, the Brewers GM...I am very happy to be cheering for a team that has a GM that looks beyond the free agency market, uses it when he needs to, but works the waiver wires, works trade value perfectly, and thus builds his team in a more efficient manner...

8:45 PM  
Anonymous MerigoldBowling said...

The Cubs also have Ronny Cedeno, their 2nd or 3rd ranked prospect by Baseball America for SS. He played a little bit in '05, and would have played more except Baker insisted on playing Perez over him.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Vinnie said...

I agree with Chuck that the Cubs were smart to pass on Furcal at that price (anything over $7mill was too much, but that's just me). But on the topic of free agency, I was disgusted as a Cubs fan by the Eyre and Howry signings. When will GMs learn that throwing big money at "established" relief guys is idiotic. Any way you dice it, bullpen is the most unpredictable and transient part of any roster. The Brewers were supposed to have an awful bullpen last year, and Troy Percival was supposed to be a huge impact signing. The Billy Wagner and Keith Foulke successes are rare. More often, it's Paul Quantrill, LaTroy Hawkins, Mike Stanton, Chris Hammond...the list goes on.

1:08 AM  

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