Friday, December 19, 2008

In Which Rafael Furcal Makes a Boo-Boo

  • Rafael Furcal's agents apparently had a deal with the Braves for Furcal to sign with Atlanta. But instead of doing so, Furcal took the deal (which had already been agreed upon, according to the Braves) and used it to extort a better deal from the Dodgers, who ended up actually signing Furcal. Furcal's agents are claiming that no deal was agreed to, but the Braves say that they sent the term sheet to Furcal's agents -- which is, in baseball, equivalent to a handshake deal. Furcal's agents reneged, and the Braves are seriously angry. They've vowed never to deal with Furcal's agents again.
    I don't know who's telling the truth, but the Braves' story seems more plausible. Granted, no deal in baseball is really official until the commissioner and the player's union sign off on it. But a deal is a deal is a deal, and to go against that rule will seriously hurt your integrity in the future. Furcal's agents aren't stars; they're not people that teams have to work with to get the good players. It seems they made a pretty serious miscalculation, not to mention a breach of ethics, even if no rules were broken. And the person who will end up getting booed over it is none of these guys, but rather Furcal himself.
  • Since writing up the Raul Ibanez deal in my last post, I've changed my opinion somewhat. This is mainly due to a fact that I should have remembered when they signed the deal -- Ibanez is a Type-A free agent, meaning that the Phillies lose their first round draft pick to Seattle. On the other hand, the Phillies did not offer Pat Burrel arbitration at all, so they won't get anything in return from the team that ends up signing him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Meetings Round-Up

  • The Yanks ended up getting C.C. Sabathia for a 7-year deal worth about $161 MM ($23 MM AAV). Considering where the Yankees are, I can see how this is the right move for them. They've been pressured to sign a free agent starter in past offseasons and ended up with the likes of Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano. This time there was a legitimate ace out there, and the Yankees nabbed him. Not that there was a lot of doubt on that front.
    My personal take is that I would NEVER give any pitcher a 7-year contract. So many things about Sabathia's future are unknown; he's shouldered a very heavy workload, but it hasn't seemed to affect him yet. He's nearly 300 pounds, but it's hard to find any pitcher from the past to compare him to. I'm far too conservative fiscally to commit so much money to an unknown quantity. But as I say, the Yankees are in the unique position of being able to afford it.
    There are just two things that bug me, even taking that into account: 1) the Yanks could have had him for less money, as their haste to outbid everyone else and get the deal done early added to the final amount, and 2) Sabathia has an opt-out clause after the third year of the deal. An opt-out clause fully protects the player while providing no advantage to the signing team. The disadvantage is that the Yankees don't really have Sabathia signed for seven years; they have him signed for three years with a player option for four more. Apparently the Yanks felt that they had to include this in the contract to be "competitive." I'm quite skeptical of that. $161 million and a seventh year is competitive enough.
  • Another Brewer who might soon become a Yankee is Mike Cameron. Rumor has it that the Brewers and Yanks are close to a deal that would send Cameron to the Bronx in exchange for Melky Cabrera. This would be a good money-saving move for the Brewers (and give them a center fielder for longer than one year), even if it hurts them in the short run. And it would give the Yankees a true center fielder who can hit to put in the lineup. The cost to them is minimal; Cabrera's time as a Yankee was done. We'll see if this deal gets done.
  • The Mets signed Francisco Rodriguez to a 3-year deal worth about $37 million. This is far less than the 5-year $60 million deal that some were predicting at season's end. It's still probably overpaying, but the Mets can afford to do that, as can the Yankees. The worry here isn't so much with dollars as it is with years; the Mets were able to get the most coveted relief arm out there (whether he's the best is debatable) without having to add a fourth year. And considering the concerns about K-Rod's arm and performance, this deal is a better risk for New York.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


For those of you who are new to my site, thanks to the excerpt published in the 2009 Hardball Times Baseball Annual, I thought I'd offer you a short introduction to what I've been doing here for the past three-plus years. Feel free to browse around, comment, or e-mail me with any feedback.


11/13/08: The 4th Annual Whiz Kid Awards
Some usual, some unusual.
11/12/07: My Awards 2007, Part 2
The 3rd Annual Whiz Kid Awards (2 parts)
10/10/06: 2006 Awards
The 2nd Annual Whiz Kid Awards (2 parts)
The Awards Go To Somebody ...
The 1st Annual Whiz Kid Awards (4 parts)


10/12/08: NLCS Game 3 Running Commentary
My first experiment with a live blog.
10/2/07: Rockies 9, Padres 8
A one-game playoff for the ages.
8/8/07: A Birthday at the Ballpark
Back to the GABP, this time with pictures.
7/26/07: Reds Win? An Evening at the Ballpark
A stream-of-consciousness evening at the Great American Ballpark. A laid-back night, until Pedro Lopez gets hit in the face by a pitch.
5/1/07: Yankee Stadium: April 19, 2007
My first (and only) visit to the stadium culminates in a Yankee comeback capped off by an A-Rod walkoff homer against Joe Borowski.

10/26/05: 5 hours, 41 minutes ...
Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. I decided to try calling the game as an announcer, using just my own little tape recorder. It turned out to be the longest game in World Series history.