In the fall of 2006 I had several worries. I didn't want to sign Soriano, Matthews, or Juan Pierre. On Nov 20th, Soriano signed a crazy 8 year deal with the Cubs. Now only two players were left to worry about. I tried to think good thoughts about Ned but I knew he would love the way Pierre played the game and would be fooled by the 2005 year of Matthews. He had signed Rafy Furcal to a contract that I loved and 2nd half Furcal in 2005 made the signing look good. He had made some deals that didn't work out in 2005 but he did bring in Ethier for a player he had to deal. In the fall of 2006 most of my skepticism about Ned was based on expectation not on actions.
Juan Pierre was the name at the top of my list that I didn't want us making a long term commitment with. Even with the rumor mill saying he was headed for the Giants I couldn't shake this uncomfortable feeling that I'd be seeing Juan Pierre more then I wanted. Sure enough almost two years ago Juan Pierre signed a horrific deal with the Dodgers on the same day the Angels made an equally misjudgment when they signed Matthews. Our local teams both swallowed the bait and have been paying the price ever since. Still I never imagined that Juan Pierre would get 5 years. 5 years!!!
As we ended the season one of bigger holes on the Dodgers is at SS. Everyone seemed to think we could just resign Furcal to a short term contract so he could rebuild his value after missing most of the year to back surgery and killing us defensively in the championship series. Instead his value seems to have grown and rumors of him getting 3 and 4 year dealers abound. The Dodgers only got about one year of above average play out of him over his three year deal so we can understand the skepticism of giving him another three year deal. Our internal options are not very strong. Chin-Lung Hu looked like our future SS at this time but his 2008 was as bad as it gets. His early offensive woes were blamed on vision problems but it never sounded like they really got those resolved. He can surely pick it well enough but you can't carry a Belanger these days, not with this offense. Will Joe Torre give him another chance? Is his vision problems solved? Was that really the problem or is simply not a major league hitter? Further down the chain we have DeJesus who ate up AA and is currently eating up the Puerto Rican League. Between those two stints however he sucked in the AFL and basically was called out for his sloppy play by John Sickels and some scouts. Is he ready to step up?
On the free agent terrain we have Renteria and Cabrera . Two long time shortstops whose better days are long past, and in Cabera's case they weren't that good to begin with. Renteria on the other hand was at times one of the best shortstops in the NL and is only one year removed from a solid year for the Braves in 2007. Renteria appears to be headed to the Giants.
I'm sorry to say I can't shake the feeling that Cabrera is coming our way. I hope these are unjustified worries but if Cabrera is not coming, what do you do. I can't imagine them going with Hu and DeJesus. Really what do you do? I fully expected Furcal to be a Dodger in 2009 and I'm shocked with the interest he has drawn. Didn't the A's just spend the last 5 years waiting for Crosby to get healthy and now they are going to sign a guy to a deal who hasn't been healthy for 2 out of 3 years and just had back surgery?
It would be so ironic if the A's signed Furcal, and we took a flyer on Crosby, who decided in 2009 to fulfill his promise after the A's give up on him.