1. Rafael Furcal has displayed the ability to stack a large amount of absolute wins in a short period of time. It brings up the question and that is: Is Furcal worth the investment despite his win value if he can't stay healthy? Here is Furcal's his value and his salary in his years as a Dodger:
2006: $14.4mil/$8.7 mil
His first contract as a Dodger (2006-8), he earned $38.1 million but was worth only $30.8 million. In 2008, he had that short year and probably would have closed that gap. This second contract is back-loaded such that he will get $12 million next year and there is a $12 million team option in 2012.
It seems that he was overpaid in his first contract but in the second, he is underpaid. I think Furcal is a shortstop that you want to have on your team and you deal with him being absent at times. You have a reasonable back-up plan in place and make do when he is gone because he is so valuable when he is around. I haven't touched on his defense but he has played the position better than ever the past two years.
Jamey Carroll is an acceptable back-up. The problem that I have with the current Dodgers team is that Ryan Theriot seems extraneous because Theriot hasn't played shortstop yet, Belliard, DeWitt and Carroll could play second base and the team went to the playoffs using Juan Castro in stints. It seems with the way the trade worked out that Ryan Theriot will be with the Dodgers for the next two years unless he is traded. Jamey Carroll remains the better utility infielder, however. It was just a bad move to add Theriot to the team.
Rafael Furcal isn't the only missing link in the Dodgers "playoff drive" but he would eventually return a la 2008 if the Dodgers were winning like the 2008 team did in the second half. Missing Manny is a big part of that but, as we all know, there is more to it than that.
The Dodgers have signed their first round pick Zach Lee right before the deadline, agreeing to a deal that includes a $5.35 million signing bonus that can be spread out over 5 years. This kid reached the Dodgers at the 28th pick because it was unlikely that he would sign. This is a huge win for the Dodgers and I will say that I am one of the many "Dodgers cynics" that thought it was a throwaway pick but the put the cash on the table and got the deal done. Instead of starting school as a two-sport star at LSU, Zach Lee is now a Dodger. Hopefully, he goes the way of fellow Texan Clayton Kershaw and arrives on the Ravine scene in a couple of years. Good job, Logan White and his team. The farm system currently is not a rich one but as long as this group keeps making sound decisions, the system can be replenished soon enough.
Jon Weisman offers up hope for Dodgers fans but I defer to today's PECOTA, which has the Dodgers at 1.34%. It's not that I don't believe that a team can't come back from this big of a deficit. It is still possible but I don't believe this team can come back and I don't believe that this team belongs anywhere near the playoffs. Watching the Rays_Rangers game last night gave me the playoff feel. Watching Octavio Dotel give away the game in Turner Field gave me flashbacks of last Thursday and reminded me of why trading for relievers was ill-advised and stupid. This Dodgers team doesn't belong in the playoffs. If Furcal comes back, they are better but Manny coming back is a mirage. He won't be back. It would be best to get some cash back and let him retire in the AL.