Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Could Have Been: Rafael Furcal to the Braves

For a few days last winter, the baseball world believed that Rafael Furcal was set to return to his original team, the Atlanta Braves:

"The Braves appear on the verge of bringing back shortstop Rafael Furcal, a move that would likely send Kelly Johnson to the outfield if he’s not traded. Two people familiar with the situation confirmed Furcal, a free agent and former Braves All-Star, tentatively agreed to a three-year contract that could be finalized after he takes a physical Wednesday in Atlanta."
At the time, I thought Furcal was going to be a great fit for the Braves. Even though he was coming off an injury plagued season in 2008, I believed that he could provide the needed spark at the top of the Braves lineup.

Furthermore, signing Furcal would have given the Braves flexibility to make the big move and trade for ace Jake Peavy. The addition of Furcal would make Yunel Escobar expendable and potentially help the Braves land one of the best pitchers in baseball.

However, the deal with Furcal never came to be. And instead, Furcal decided to re-sign with the Dodgers.

But you know what, sometimes the best deals are the ones that are not made. In this case, the Braves certainly got the best of this deal, even though they did not wind up with Rafael Furcal or Jake Peavy.

In 2009, Furcal has hit just .253 with the Dodgers to go along with 4 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and a .328 OBP. Those numbers are obviously well below what the Dodgers expected from Furcal when they handed him a 3 year/$30 million dollar contract over the winter.

Also, it seems as though the Braves lucked out by NOT acquiring Jake Peavy. When healthy, Peavy is a very good pitcher, but the problem has been that Peavy cannot stay healthy. The Padres ace has only made 13 starts this season because of an ankle problem and he could very well miss the remainder of the season.

And finally, by not trading for Peavy, the Braves were able to keep Yunel Escobar, who most baseball people assumed was going to be included in any deal for Peavy. Through the first half of the season, Escobar has probably been the Braves MVP as he is hitting over .300 with 9 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .369 OBP. Sure, Escobar may not be Bobby Cox's favorite player, but his talent and ability is unquestioned.

While Furcal's last minute defection might have hurt the Braves at the time, there is no doubt that the Braves are happy that the Furcal deal did not go down.

1 comment:

tHeMARksMiTh said...

You forgot to mention that because they didn't get Peavy, they went after Vazquez. And that's been huge.