Furcal Move Comes With Crossed Fingers

Why is it we don't feel as euphoric over the multi year resigning of Bad Back Furcal as the "house" team and LA media? At least to us, it looks for all the world like another case of the team making a player move with the fingers on both hands crossed in fervent hope health will not become an issue.

When we were following the team more regularly, we often had a chance to visit with Dr. Frank Jobe, who has forgotten more about health issues and athletes than everybody else ever connected with personnel decisions put together.

In our various chats, we asked what would he, Dr. Jobe, consider the worst of all sports injuries. The back, he instantly retorted. A bad back, he said, could go out again at any moment, anytime, in spite of all the pills and therapies and therapists. Once a bad back, always a bad back. As, we hate to bring up, in the case of Bad Back Furcal.

Furcal's back plus Dr. Jobe's advice, add up to a big giant IF surrounding the $30 million and more the Dodgers have invested. Insurance company actuaries would automatically put the Dodgers decision into a very, very high risk pool, would "rate" the contract as someplace between a junk bond and worthless.

Could Bad Back Furcal have three or more pain free years? Sure he could.

Could Bad Back Furcal spend portions of this next year keeping Jason No-Play Schmidt company? The answer is the same, sure he could.

Could Bad Back Furcal's back suddenly become as weak as Juan Pierre's throwing arm?


Could worry over the Furcal back limit his running or stealing bases or lunging for balls far to the right or the left? Of course!  Furcal may become as skittish of challenging his back as Bobby Abreu nearing a right field wall or Manny Ramirez diving for a tweener in the outfield.

Whatever Casey Blake is or isn't as a third sacker, he is NOT young enough or agile enough to cover territory towards shortstop, thus carrying part of Furcal's burden. If Blake DeWitt covers more territory at second than Jeff Kent did (and the Lincoln Memorial had more movement than Kent), he, Dewitt, isn't all that agile and is unlikely to cover some previous Furcal territory around second base.

For sure,Furcal's agents played the Dodgers like a Stradivarius, dancing up and down the baseball world with virtuosity, creating so much interest in and around Furcal that the Dodgers surely forgot any good sense they might have had and fell hook, line and sinker that, back aside, Furcal was indeed a very valuable commodity.

The Dodgers, like the country rube standing before the strippers tent at a county fair, were, as they generously say, taken in by it all.

So far the Dodgers commitment to go with their youth has resulted in a multi-year contract to frankly a quite ordinary and aging third sacker, a multi year contract to a shortstop where agility is not only nice but an absolute requirement, to a guy with a back back, and thirdly to a peripatetic and once mildly intriguing 38 year old who never, ever was able to win a starting job (and keep it).

Why then are we feeling like those consigned to bailing out the automakers and auto unions? This is change we can believe in?  Why does LA sometimes feel like Detroit?

Why do we get a sense the words are different but the actions are, sad to say, just more of the same?

As usual, we hope we are wrong, not only wrong, but very wrong. Maybe Dr. Jobe's wisdom on bad backs was wrong. Maybe Bad-Back Furcal's first three years in LA didn't mean much. Maybe GM Ned Colletti has suddenly gotten smarter. That's a lot of maybes.

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