There is an unconfirmed report on ‘Yahoo Sports’ that the Jays are interested in signing Rafeal Furcal. Back problems cut down Furcal’s year last season. Although in the time he played, he did very well for the Dodgers in their late playoff push, hitting .350, with a .439 on-base and 5 homers in 143 at-bats.
The Blue Jay infield would look drastically different with Rafeal Furcal at short and Aaron Hill at second. Better defensively! Furcal is a dynamite shortstop with an absolute cannon
of an arm. This is not to take anything away from the crafty Prime Minister John MacDonald, Furcal has a fireball attached to his arm and range to boot.
We all saw how comfortable and effective Aaron Hill got at second base. We had some good production at second base last year (i.e. Joe Inglett). Hill, however, can wield a devastating bat if he is ‘locked in’.
In getting Furcal, the Jays could aquire something that they have never had before, or in a long time at least. This is a shortstop that can hit, and be a legitimate stolen base threat from the leadoff spot. We wanted that in David Eckstein last season but didn’t get it. It has been a long time since the Jays have had any stolen base threat, or legitimate lead-off hitter, for that matter. Although I must admit, Alex Rios was very impressive stealing bases last year.
Past Blue Jay shortstop list (I realize I’m probably leaving a lot guys out, I’m just concerned with the primary shortstops we’ve had): Manny Lee, Alex Gonzalez, Tony Batista, Russ Adams, Chris Gomez, Dick Scofield, Mike Bordick, Chris Woodward, Tony Fernandez, Alfredo Griffin (I don’t go back any further than him).
Okay, the latter two were pretty good in their day, but ever since Tony’s (??count them) 3rd arrival back to the Jays, we have had a lack of production from the shortstop position (Woodward had one good year, his defense was sub-par). Aquiring Furcal would be refreshing in this area; however, there will be a price, and there will be large expectations on him. Probably double that of what David Eckstein faced last season.
Looking at the Jays financial contraints, that by now have been well documented, we might only barely be able to afford Furcal. This doesn’t give us room to hunt down other free agents to fill team depth. Furcal might be all our ‘eggs in the basket.’ Just hope he is not another ‘bastaerd in a basket.’ Daniel Day Louis in There Will Be Blood
With the recent signing of top Dominican shortstop prospect, Gustavo Pierre, the Blue Jays are fishing in an area that they know very well. Some exceptionally good Dominican talent has come through the Blue Jays farm system. To commemorate them, I made this piece that includes, Nelson Liriano, Tony Fernandez, Juan Guzman, Manny Lee, George Bell and Alfredo Griffin. To me, those guys left a great legacy on our franchise. Guzman was a phenomenal young arm, Tony Fernandez is the Jays all time leader in hits, Manny Lee was huge in the Jays 92 World Series push, Nelson Liriano was a solid defensive player and George Bell was a fierce hitter that won the MVP in 1987.
Other notable players (so they don’t feel left out).
Miguel Batista, Tony Batista, Pedro Borbón (okay reliever), Sil Campusano, Pasqual Coco (coolest name award), Junior Félix, Dámaso García, Raul Mondesi (guys not from the Jays system are here too),
Only the United States has produced more Blue Jays than the Dominican Republic. We have gotten away from this talent pool recently, but with guys like Robinson Diaz and hopefully Pierre (he is only 16 now) it can make a revival.