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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Insane Dodgers/Furcal Deal Dollar Amounts Keep Flying, And Still No Deal

dodgers.com now says Furcal's contract is $30M for three years with a vesting option for a fourth year, contradicting an earlier AP report that Furcal had signed for $33M/3 years.
Furcal receives salaries of $6.5 million, $8.5 million and $12 million. The team option for 2012 is for $12 million, but vests with 600 plate appearances in 2011. There is a $3 million deferred signing bonus. Furcal, 31, is coming off a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers. He played for the Braves from 2000-05.
My immediate opinion about this is that it's probably overpaying for the wrong services, but given that Hu is not and may never be a major-league-ready bat, it serves as expensive insurance for that possibility. However, Hu's readiness isn't liable to be tested unless (a) Furcal goes down for an extended period of time, or (b) he becomes really, really crappy. The best news is that the Dodgers won't give up any draft picks for this free agency signing.

Update: Diamond Leung and Tony Jackson both say $30M; the $3M deferred bonus was probably the point of confusion in the AP article.

More from the Kamenetzkys:

As I expressed just recently, Furcal's back still makes me nervous (it's often a body part that never really heals up), thus concerning me that retaining the shortstop for anything along the lines of big dollars or long years is mighty dicey. While three years isn't exactly a life sentence, 10 mil isn't quite cat food, either. If Furcal's string of injuries while donning blue continue, the Dodgers are staring down both the grim prospects of metaphorical cash spending its time on a trainer's table, but a very sizable hole in need of filling.
MSTI on why we should like this deal (I agree):
  • No more Jack Wilson rumors! No more nightmares of Angel Berroa as the starting SS! Unlike in the outfield, where there's plenty of non-Manny outfielders should we lose out on our favorite dreadlocked manchild, there was absolutely nothing else available at shortstop. I've mentioned this about, oh, ten million times, so I won't bore you with it again. Just sleep soundly tonight knowing that "James McDonald and Chin-Lung Hu to Pittsburgh for Jack Wilson" is not going to ruin your Christmas this year.
  • No worry of Juan Pierre leading off! Don't believe how real of a danger this is? "But MSTI," you say. "Torre ended the year leading off with Matt Kemp much of the time." Oh yeah? Check this out, homeboy. Furcal went down in early May, and Pierre led off every single game until he too was injured in late June. ...
  • Great middle IF depth/trade chips! Did anyone feel comfortable handing the SS job to Chin-Lung Hu or Ivan DeJesus, Jr.? Of course not. ...
  • A player who clearly wanted to be a Dodger! Fine, if the fourth year vests, the total salary will be higher - but how many times can you remember a player turning down more guaranteed years? Furcal had four solid years in hands from Oakland, and preferred to come back to Los Angeles. Call me a sucker, but I like that.
  • Less guaranteed money than his last deal!
I'm not quite as enthusiastic, but given the Dodgers' options, it could be worse.

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