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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dodgers - Signed Furcal

Los Angeles Dodgers - Signed SS Rafael Furcal to a 3-year, $39 million contract.

$14 million a year is pricey, but it’s not troublesome at only 3 years and it’s not as if there were a whole bunch of terrific options at short out in the market.  The main question here is what the Dodgers do when Izturis comes back, but it’s probably smart that the Dodgers move on without him and then worry about it when he’s back and healthy.  You don’t want to sit on your hands, wait for Izturis to come back, and discover that 2004 didn’t come back with him.  They’re talking about moving him to 2nd, but if Izturis isn’t the shortstop, he has very limited value, so the Dodgers, in that case, might be better off trying to find a trade partner that still remembers his great defense and acceptable hitting from before the injury.  Furcal’s a better fit in the leadoff spot than Izturis, too.

Colletti really didn’t have much choice but to overpay Furcal.  There’s no rebuilding in Los Angeles - McCourt simply doesn’t have the patience required to execute a long-term plan.  The contract’s short enough that it doesn’t cripple the team if things go awry, afoul, or even askew.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Rafael Furcal
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
644 105 181 28 7 15 77 59 87 26 .281 .341 .416

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 04, 2005 at 04:38 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:03 PM (#1759474)
"A little pricey?" Come on, Dan. $14 mil per year for Rafeal Furcal is absurd.
   2. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1759499)
Signed SS Rafael Furcal to a 3-year, $39 million contract.

$14 million a year is pricey,


Very pricey when you consider they are really paying him $13 million.
   3. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:43 PM (#1759504)
Anything over 9 is overpaying.
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:45 PM (#1759507)
That's not Sam's fault - I had posted the original $42 million number but $39 was reported after.
   5. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:53 PM (#1759522)
I wasn't blaming Sam. I was blaming you -- when you fixed the $39 million number, you should have also fixed the $14 million sentence too. :-)
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:55 PM (#1759526)
Leading off and playing shortstop for your 2007 Chicago Cubs, #13, Neifi Perez.
   7. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 04, 2005 at 05:56 PM (#1759528)
If I'm being a jerk (I am), it may have something to do with my continued frustration with Jim Hendry for (a) going into the off-season having only one plan -- whether it be "trade Sammy Sosa in order to make moves" or "get Furcal" and (b) now being royally Farked when the plan doesn't come through.
   8. greenback calls it soccer Posted: December 04, 2005 at 06:11 PM (#1759550)
Don't worry, Dusty will think of something and save Hendry's bacon.
   9. akrasian Posted: December 04, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1759602)
Anything over 9 is overpaying.

Sure. Of course, similar things are being said about virtually every free agent signing this offseason. At least the Dodgers are overpaying for quality, rather than for mediocrities - or trading multiple prospects for somebody good AND expensive.
   10. AROM Posted: December 04, 2005 at 06:46 PM (#1759627)
I don't think its a bad contract. Only 3 years, and Furcal is the best player out there. Sure beats paying what Konerko got.
   11. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1759632)
Sure. Of course, similar things are being said about virtually every free agent signing this offseason.

That's because virtually every free agent signing of 2005-6, to date, has been between slightly- and absurdly-overpaid. There hasn't been a single reasonable signing this year.
   12. Sparkles Peterson Posted: December 04, 2005 at 06:56 PM (#1759640)
At least the Dodgers are overpaying for quality, rather than for mediocrities...


That's what has been said about every major acquisition so far this offseason. Wouldn't it be a kick in the ass if when it came time for teams to start signing mediocrities, all the GMs in "Hurry up and make a move" mode had blown their wads so the mediocrities got signed at saner prices and all these early moves still turned out to be asinine?
   13. Dr. Phil Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1759689)
I like this signing. Per year, its probably a little much for Furcal, but because of the length, it will eventually yield more flexibility. Big fan of more money, less years.
   14. akrasian Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:30 PM (#1759691)
That's because virtually every free agent signing of 2005-6, to date, has been between slightly- and absurdly-overpaid. There hasn't been a single reasonable signing this year.

Maybe with the increases in revenue it makes financial sense for teams to spend more on free agents.

In the Dodgers' case, they are competing for long term market share with another team - spending more than a player might be worth short term on a strictly dollar basis very well might be the long term economically savvy move, if it helps keep the Dodgers as the most popular team in southern California.

But in general, if EVERY free agent signing seems unreasonable, then it strikes me that maybe the paradigm for reasonable and unreasonable needs to be updated.
   15. akrasian Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1759695)
Wouldn't it be a kick in the ass if when it came time for teams to start signing mediocrities, all the GMs in "Hurry up and make a move" mode had blown their wads so the mediocrities got signed at saner prices and all these early moves still turned out to be asinine?

I seriously doubt that will happen. Paying much of anything for mediocrities doesn't make a lot of sense - and the mediocrities will still get their multi-million dollar contracts, with perhaps a handful coming off of injuries becoming NRIs, as happens every year.
   16. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1759696)
That's because virtually every free agent signing of 2005-6, to date, has been between slightly- and absurdly-overpaid.

That's the same feeling I have, but it's just that: a feeling. We won't really know the value (in terms of wins/dollar) of an impact player like Furcal until we can look back on it. If the cost of FA talent remains at this level, then he isn't overpaid. If it levels off or drops (like in the wake of 2000) then he is.

And if it does drop off, it's the big contracts that go to non-HOF talent that are going to be the clunkers, and I'd put Furcal in that category. The Dodgers have two things going for them here: Furcal's age, and the fact that it's only a three-year commitment, so it's not going to turn out like the contracts that went to Kevin Brown or Mike Hampton. If the Dodgers find themselves really needing to get out of this in the next couple of years, and considering Furcal's age and ability I don't think they will, the damage will not be huge. So it might turn out to be a clunker, but one few will really notice as that. It's the contact that Furcal signs at age 31 (probably with the Cubs!) that will be the real clunker.
   17. Darren Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1759707)
Hey! Who wants to trade for Renteria? He's signed for the same time, only he's cheaper! How about it, Braves and Cubs?
   18. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1759744)
But in general, if EVERY free agent signing seems unreasonable, then it strikes me that maybe the paradigm for reasonable and unreasonable needs to be updated.

When ownership is using this season's large FA contracts as propaganda in next year's coming labor war, keep this in mind.
   19. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:12 PM (#1759773)
There hasn't been a single reasonable signing this year.

Brian Giles begs to differ.
   20. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:25 PM (#1759803)
There hasn't been a single reasonable signing this year.

Brian Giles begs to differ.


Considering what he apparently turned down, I think that one gets an asterisk, and that Sam's point stands.
   21. 1k5v3L Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:27 PM (#1759807)
Hey! Who wants to trade for Renteria? He's signed for the same time, only he's cheaper! How about it, Braves and Cubs?

Having figured out he won't get his 72 virgins in the Manny trade, Darren will settle for 47 virgins for Edgar Pudgy Renteria.
   22. akrasian Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1759813)
When ownership is using this season's large FA contracts as propaganda in next year's coming labor war, keep this in mind.

There'd be the same type of propaganda, and it would be just as false, no matter which way the free agent signings went this offseason.

The propaganda doesn't change what makes sense for the teams.
   23. rory_b_bellows Posted: December 04, 2005 at 08:31 PM (#1759817)
It's not dollars that kills team but the length. I think Furcal for 3 years isn't bad, certainly I would rather give him $39m for three rather than $50m for five or something like that.

It also shows what a great deal that the Padres got in resigning Giles -- $9m a year for three years for a guy that hit 333/465/545 on the road last year.
   24. DSG Posted: December 04, 2005 at 09:32 PM (#1759954)
I like this signing. Furcal is worth +20 or so RAA w/ the bat and another +10 RAA from base running and fielding. That's actually worth about $14 million a year assuming $330,000/marginal run and an average salary of $4 million for starters. He'll decline some, but Furcal should still be worth ~$33 million over the next few years if not more. A couple million extra per year isn't really overpaying considering the Dodgers are getting a VERY good shortstop in his prime (28-30 are close enough to the prime years to count as such). But this is an absolutely GREAT, GREAT, GREAT deal for Furcal. Going into free agency next time around, he'll be 30 (the time that most GMs consider a player's prime), probably coming off some great seasons (since he'll be at or close to his peak with the Dodgers), and probably have a Gold Glove or two in tow (his reputation as a great defensive shortstop is growing, and his main competition -- Izturis -- won't be playing short anymore).

If he'd gotten 5 years, $50 million, that would've been Furcal's last big contract, and he would only be getting the equivalent of $5.5 million/year the last two years (compared to the contract he did sign). Instead, he'll probably get to sign a 4 year/$50 million contract or something like that three years from now, and he'll look like a genius.
   25. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 09:56 PM (#1760010)
Rafeal Furcal is not a $13 million per year player. Ever.
   26. akrasian Posted: December 04, 2005 at 10:05 PM (#1760035)
Rafeal Furcal is not a $13 million per year player. Ever.

Well, with an argument like that, how could anybody disagree?
   27. Michael Posted: December 04, 2005 at 10:13 PM (#1760053)
I think Furcal for 3 years isn't bad, certainly I would rather give him $39m for three rather than $50m for five or something like that.

I'm not sure about that. 2009 and 2010 Furcal for an average of $5.5m doesn't seem too bad especially when you consider:

1. salary inflation. $5.5m in 2009 and 2010 will mean probably more like $4m million does today.

2. defered money. A 5 year deal would likely be back loaded and that would lower the NPV of the deal.

2009 and 2010 Furcal would likely be overpaid, but you'd make it back in the amount you'd underpay 2006 and 2007 Furcal and in the time value of money.
   28. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 04, 2005 at 10:27 PM (#1760090)
Well, with an argument like that, how could anybody disagree?

By being wrong.
   29. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 04, 2005 at 10:31 PM (#1760096)
I had thought that Furcal would be vastly overpaid, and probably by the Cubs, but after doing some WARP1 comparisons, I don't think this is that bad. He put up a WARP1 of 8.2 last year after 5.2, 5.1, and 5.2 the previous three years. Assuming he is somewhere between 5 and 8 WARP1, he is actually pretty damn good compared to a lot of what is out there - Izturis was at 2.4, 4.4, and 2.1 the last three years... Furcal is close to Jeter, close to Tejada, better than Renteria, better than Jack Wilson...

The question is, how cheaply could they make up that difference elsewhere?
   30. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 04, 2005 at 10:37 PM (#1760107)
It's a pretty darn good deal for Furcal, but he'd have been far better off going to some teams in better hitters' parks and seeing if they'd match it. When part of the value of your deal is that you can get another big one in a short time, you ought to make sure you'll maximize your perceived value in the interim. Three years of his typical 105-120 OPS+ in Chavez Ravine could look like a decline phase to non-park factor astute GMs.

It's a decent signing for the Dodgers, too, because the NL West isn't very good, which makes wins worth slightly more, since fewer of them will get you closer to the division title. I haven't run any numbers, but this could be a signing that adds 5 wins to last year's Dodger team. Add 2-3 with Perez being healthy (if, of course, he is), and maybe 2-3 for Gagne being healthy as well, plus having a decent 3b (league-average, like Mueller or Randa), whoever it is, and the Dodgers suddenly are an 80-win team, which could even win the West. And, the team has a lot more upside than that. The kicker is that the deals need to be short, because there are fine 3b coming through the system.
   31. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 04, 2005 at 11:05 PM (#1760154)
whoever it is, and the Dodgers suddenly are an 80-win team, which could even win the West.

With even two months of Bonds, the Giants will win more than 80 games, even with the assortment of sad that makes up most of the team.
   32. Voros M. Posted: December 04, 2005 at 11:18 PM (#1760179)
Any smart fellow done any updates on an estimated marginal revenue per win?

If the attendance increases of the last two years brought with him a similar increase in marginal revenue, what a player is "worth" may very recently have changed.

Yes his market value is what someone will pay him but an increase in marginal revenue would likely increase what someone will pay.
   33. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 04, 2005 at 11:47 PM (#1760281)
The question is, how cheaply could they make up that difference elsewhere?
The Dodgers have a cheap option at first base in Choi, but they haven't yet seemed inclined to use him. Also, the farm system is on the verge of burping up a fistful of inexpensive talent.
   34. Joel W Posted: December 05, 2005 at 12:02 AM (#1760302)
Renteria for the next 3 years at 9 Mil less than Furcal? Seems a lot more reasonable for the sox in that light.
   35. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 05, 2005 at 12:57 AM (#1760455)
I'm going to say it: if Neifi puts up another 4.4 WARP1 next year, then his contract is much better.
   36. DSG Posted: December 05, 2005 at 01:35 AM (#1760584)
Voros,

Are you talking about the Dodgers specifically, or overall in the MLB? In the MLB, a marginal run is worth about 330K on the free agent market, or about $3.3 million/marginal win. Using BP's RAA for fielding and batting, I get his established level of value at $10.3 million (weighting seasons 3/2/1) and I get $13.3 million combining FRAA and BRAR. Using UZR, Range, and RCAA, I got $14 million. Either way, Furcal is worth close to what he's getting, which makes it a pretty good deal.
   37. pkb33 Posted: December 05, 2005 at 03:35 AM (#1760934)
Voros was referring to revenue, not cost, wasn't he?
   38. Walt Davis Posted: December 05, 2005 at 04:37 AM (#1761082)
If the attendance increases of the last two years brought with him a similar increase in marginal revenue, what a player is "worth" may very recently have changed.

Of course a lot of the increaased revenue isn't "marginal revenue" but rather shared revenue. New league TV deals, more international revenue, more web revenue, franchise fees (or the sale of the Nats) etc. don't depend on how many games your team wins (just ask the Royals and Marlins). No doubt having a winning team increases a team's local TV/cable deal (when it's signed) and presumably helps those with their own networks, but I suspect those revenues are stickier with regard to wins than attendance is.

As far as I know, attendance is still the biggest piece of the revenue pie, but I believe it is getting smaller in percentage terms all the time (paging Maury Brown).

So what I'm getting at is that I doubt that marginal $/win has changed substantially yet payroll is going up. It's going up because teams are not basing salaries on marginal $/win (or at least not solely) but rather are spending the extra revenue they have whether it's "marginal" revenue (or "win-dependent" revenue or whatever you want to call it) or "fixed" revenue.
   39. GregD Posted: December 05, 2005 at 06:45 AM (#1761281)
Furcal is clearly a better player than J-Roll, but the contract does put Wade's contract with Rollins in a different light. 5 years/$40 million for Rollins looked expensive at the time, but is looking cheaper by the minute.
   40. HiredGoon Posted: December 05, 2005 at 08:36 AM (#1761342)
This signing makes it hard to believe that Angelos got 5 years of Tejada for $60 million just two years ago.
   41. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: December 05, 2005 at 06:50 PM (#1761738)
HiredGoon - Great point on Tejada, I can't believe I'm giving credit to Peter Angelos for being intelligent.

Furcal is a great player, and he looks like a great businessman in this deal. Getting in and getting out quickly is a great strategy in MLB until there is another A-Rod level signing and clubs start backpedaling away from massive, long-term deals. The market value depreciation seems great on paper, but keep in mind that the players are people who do irrational things. Manny's demands for a trade every offseason remind me a little of Derek Bell and the infamous "Operation Shutdown".

Speaking of A-Rod, is there a countdown anywhere telling me how many days until he signs his next contract?

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