Rafael Furcal In His Atlanta Days. Courtesy signedautograph.com

Here's A Wild Idea For The Braves: Rafael Furcal


Hello again everyone from Steambath Springs, Michigan, home of humidity so thick that it takes 5 MPH off everyone’s radar gun readings; pretty helpful for cruising down the highway, at least!

Given that this is the time of year when rumors are as thick as the humidity up here, I thought “what the heck” and decided to throw out an idea not broached so far in the deluge: Why not take a chance on Rafael Furcal?

Given, Furcal’s season thus far has been a train wreck. While trying to battle through an assortment of injuries including a broken thumb and an oblique strain, he’s hit only .195 with an OPS of .508 in only 147 plate appearances. But as recently as last year he hit .300 with an OPS of .826. For his career he’s at .283/.756. He’s also stolen 298 bases, including 22 last year. Scouts say the talent is still there, both at the plate and in the field. While he’s not the same player he was in his first go-round in Atlanta, talent-wise I’m not sure he’s much different than the player the Braves thought they had signed in 2008 before the Dodgers swooped in at the last minute (remember John Schuerholz famous “we’ll never do business with them again” pronouncement (you can read it here if you like).

Granted, at 33 years old, Furcal now seems to be an injury waiting to happen, but I think the risk is somewhat mitigated by the fact that some of his recent maladies are either very common and can and do happen to anyone from time-to-time (oblique), making him no more prone to them than many other players or unlikely to recur (broken thumb). Furcal, though, would bring the kind of energy this team is often lacking. He would bring speed that’s just not there now. And it is extremely likely that he would bring offense back to the shortstop position. Plus, he’s a natural lead-off hitter who also has occasional spurts of power, kind of like the power we hoped Alex Gonzalez would bring.

It is believed that the Dodgers would pick up a large portion of the $4.8 million owed Furcal over the balance of the season, as they have an heir-apparent (Dee Gordon) ready to step into the position. Furcal also has a $12 million option for 2012 that vests at 600 PA, which cannot happen. However, there is a strong likelihood that Furcal would take a “lean deal” as a one year contract for 2012, allowing him to rehabilitate his image for the free agent market in 2013. That part of the equation is “win-win” for the Braves, as they either cut a sweet deal for 2012 if the rest of 2011 goes well (allowing Tyler Pastornicky to play a year at AAA before moving up to Atlanta), or cut ties and focus on Tyler Pastornicky’s rapid development for 2012 if it doesn’t.

My take is that the Braves can do this deal with very little budget impact and without giving up a major prospect. Heck, doing this deal wouldn’t even impact their ability to trade for an OF bat. Worst case, the Braves bench has Furcal on it instead of Julio Lugo; how can that be a bad thing?

So that’s my take on an out-of-the-box idea. My guess is that there are a bunch of you with opinions of your own on this. Let us hear your take!

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Tags: Alex Gonzalez Atlanta Braves Braves Frank Wren MLB Trade Rumors Rafael Furcal

  • FredOwens

    I mentioned this a s a possibility the other day but Frank Wren has a long memory – witness some trades and signings where he said this guy has lots of talent (at 35) – and won’t allow Furcal near his team. Yes he is that selfish. Furcal’s RISP this year is .333 and he can still play short. BUT Frank loves Gonzo. I’m afraid we’re about to be Ankiel’d again

  • BobHorton

    @FredOwens Perhaps the one good thing about the Pence signing is that FW will be forced into some kind of response. Maybe Quentin, with JHey shifting to CF? I know his numbers are no better than McLouth’s, but I don’t think he’ll suck this badly all year!.

    Bob

  • FredOwens

    I mentioned this a s a possibility the other day but Frank Wren has a long memory – witness some trades and signings where he said this guy has lots of talent (at 35) – and won’t allow Furcal near his team. Yes he is that selfish. Furcal’s RISP this year is .333 and he can still play short. BUT Frank loves Gonzo. I’m afraid we’re about to be Ankiel’d again

  • FredOwens

    I think Jason would be a disaster in center. Braves do to or they wouldn’t be whispering about platooning him l I like quentin if Prado is on third and Quentin in in left Otherwise we platoon which is an expensive part time player @BobHorton

  • BobHorton

    @FredOwens Perhaps the one good thing about the Pence signing is that FW will be forced into some kind of response. Maybe Quentin, with JHey shifting to CF? I know his numbers are no better than McLouth’s, but I don’t think he’ll suck this badly all year!.

    Bob

  • FredOwens

    I think Jason would be a disaster in center. Braves do to or they wouldn’t be whispering about platooning him l I like quentin if Prado is on third and Quentin in in left Otherwise we platoon which is an expensive part time player @BobHorton

  • BobHorton

    @FredOwens I don’t think Jason is a long-term answer in CF, but I don’t think he’d be a disaster there, either. I also don’t think the Braves really want to platoon him, as they’d both probably be better off with him playing every day in AAA getting his swing back. With Schafer and McClouth both on the DL, I think the Braves may be more open to “creative” alternatives than they were before!

    Bob

  • BobHorton

    @FredOwens I don’t think Jason is a long-term answer in CF, but I don’t think he’d be a disaster there, either. I also don’t think the Braves really want to platoon him, as they’d both probably be better off with him playing every day in AAA getting his swing back. With Schafer and McClouth both on the DL, I think the Braves may be more open to “creative” alternatives than they were before!

    Bob

  • FredOwens

    By their actions in not even trying him in center I sueoct they won’t. Center is the hardest field to play,Line drives hit right at you having to range wide to each side and remember to call folks off is harder than going one way and waiting to be called off. I could be wrong about it but I suspect Jason would be a liability there, He’s Magellan in right perhaps with 1/3 of the globe to cover. In center he might circumnavigate himself wight up his own jacksie @BobHorton

  • jaybob

    I’ve long said The Bravos need an upgrade at SS more than an OF bat. Whether that means trading for a SS or getting an OF’er and moving Martin to SS…well, that’s Mr. Wren’s decision. But IMO that what needs to be done first.

  • FredOwens

    Prado is range challenged at short and has played only one game there. Options did include Brignac Bartlett Carroll Furcal as inexpensive trades, Pastornicky or Hicks from AAA. Carroll not a great fielder nor much of a hitting upgrade. Bartlett (now on DL) and Brignac are great fielders but the Padres would have to be coaxed to give Bartlett up as their minor league guy isn’t ready and Rays sent Brignac down for not producing. Furcal is the least expensive answer as he still fields well, has always hit in the clutch is a real leadoff man and would enjoy the challenge of the race. Ifhe could kiss and make up with Wren, he would be a nice fit with Gonzo as a pouting backup. I don’t think Wren will even consider him though@jaybob

  • jaybob

    My point…Prado @SS = upgrade. You disagree?@FredOwens

  • FredOwens

    By their actions in not even trying him in center I sueoct they won’t. Center is the hardest field to play,Line drives hit right at you having to range wide to each side and remember to call folks off is harder than going one way and waiting to be called off. I could be wrong about it but I suspect Jason would be a liability there, He’s Magellan in right perhaps with 1/3 of the globe to cover. In center he might circumnavigate himself wight up his own jacksie @BobHorton

  • jaybob

    I’ve long said The Bravos need an upgrade at SS more than an OF bat. Whether that means trading for a SS or getting an OF’er and moving Martin to SS…well, that’s Mr. Wren’s decision. But IMO that what needs to be done first.

  • FredOwens

    Prado is range challenged at short and has played only one game there. Options did include Brignac Bartlett Carroll Furcal as inexpensive trades, Pastornicky or Hicks from AAA. Carroll not a great fielder nor much of a hitting upgrade. Bartlett (now on DL) and Brignac are great fielders but the Padres would have to be coaxed to give Bartlett up as their minor league guy isn’t ready and Rays sent Brignac down for not producing. Furcal is the least expensive answer as he still fields well, has always hit in the clutch is a real leadoff man and would enjoy the challenge of the race. Ifhe could kiss and make up with Wren, he would be a nice fit with Gonzo as a pouting backup. I don’t think Wren will even consider him though@jaybob

  • jaybob

    My point…Prado @SS = upgrade. You disagree?@FredOwens

  • FredOwens

    Defensively it’s a serious downgrade. Offensive it would be a major upgrade. I’d play Pastornicky first or go get Orlando Cabrerra from the tribe. Better hitter and nearly free. But yea I know how badly Gonzo sux and want him gone too @jaybob @ss

  • FredOwens

    Defensively it’s a serious downgrade. Offensive it would be a major upgrade. I’d play Pastornicky first or go get Orlando Cabrerra from the tribe. Better hitter and nearly free. But yea I know how badly Gonzo sux and want him gone too @jaybob @ss