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
On top of reciting everything I read, like Ron Burgandy, I’m also very good at not predicting a truthful outcome. So here goes some of my free agent predictions. Try to think the exact opposite of everything I pick, in order to get a good hint into what really might happen!
I thought a prerequsite for looking into a crystal ball is that you have to be able to see? Or maybe not. Being less drunk might also not help, hmmm yes.
The Not Stove League
A.J. Burnett – I see that you will sign a deal worth about 18 million with the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays cannot afford that, and the Yankees will get cold feet because of your injury status. The Red Sox are gamblers, and they have the money.
Pat Burrell – A lot talk about you right now, lets see. I see you going to a small market franchise and being signed for less than what you are actually worth. This will occur at the end of free agency. Foggy but the team could be the Marlins, or Tampa Bay.
Mark Teixeria – You are catching interest from the Nationals, but I still think that you will be in New York. As I’ve said all along. You are a good fit there. This probably hurts their chances. I’m not even going to mention CC, because I know he is going there and I don’t want to jinks my chances of getting everything wrong!
Manny Ramirez – You are definately going to a large market. The L.A. Angels look the one maybe, like they need any more outfielders, but I see it for L.A. Oh no, that could be the Dodgers!
Derek Lowe – Who will be wise enough to get Lowe? I see a large market team, because he will command a fair chunk of change. I don’t know, I think he is back with the Dodgers, there is no way they can lose so much of what helped them succeed last season.
Orlando Hudson – Loved this guy in Toronto and I’m glad that he is getting serious consideration. Kelly Johnson is being shopped by the Braves. Hudson is a southern boy, so I’m saying he ends up with the Braves if he doesn’t cost them ‘an arm and a leg’, ha ha! Cliche. Man, that might be the most annoying thing I’ve ever written, I apoligize.
Rafeal Furcal – I don’t think the Blue Jays really want to pay for him. I understand shortstop is a need, but we have the defense in Johnny Mac. He probably will be too much for the Jays to sign anyway. I’m all for getting him if the price is right, but I would rather the Jays look for power hitting, or pitching. Furcal goes to the Giants, they are liking him right now. By the way, always respected the cannon Furcal has at short.
Ben Sheets – If the Mets are not able to swing a deal with Tampa Bay for Sonnastine, or Jackson, they panic and end up spending a lot, like they normally do. Sheets to the Mets maybe, I know they too are strapped for money.
Here is one that makes no difference to anybody. Jay Payton – The guy has underachieved his whole career. A fine athlete but needs to find some way to be threatening at the plate. Hiroshima Hawks.
Sidney Ponson – What team wants to go through the pain of having this guy pitch for them, “Oh Ponson, are you too good to be on the Rangers?” Give me a break. He ends up playing on the ‘Wal-Mart Mens Slo-Pitch’ team, position catcher.
Anyway, that is all I got! I’ll be back with more history next post. I was just trying to amuse myself writing this, I could actually be right about some of these predictions, I concede that, I don’t want to dash anyones hopes reling on me to fail, or expecting their coveted player to go to the team that I actually predicted.
I found this fun little thing on MLB.com, where if you predict where these free agents will go, you can win baseball tickets.
To be honest, I really have no clue for a number of these picks (i.e. just random guesses), however I put Burnett re-signing with the Jays as my pick with the most confidence. Wishful thinking I guess. I’m banking on the Yankees landing both Sabathia and Teixeira as their big free agent splash of the offseason, that everyone is predicting they will make. To me, I can’t see how Manny would choose another team than the Dodgers, given his acceptance with that team this year.
The rest are just random predictions, like Lowe and Abreu going back to their former teams Boston and Philly. I don’t know where that came from? Don’t take me as a source on this, check out http://hotstove.mlblogs.com/ and http://allbaseballallthetime.mlblogs.com/ for that. Those guys are very good on the free agent beat!
This is a fun promotion, however, and you never know? Maybe some of these random guesses might work out!