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The Dodgers overpaid Rafael Furcal for a goofy annual salary, but I don't think I'm happy about it. The questions to ask in order to form an opinion:

  1. Does Furcal make the Dodgers better? Yes. Even if Cesar Izturis were healthy, Furcal is an improvement. The Dodgers will have him at his peak, and even his off years are acceptable for a shortstop. The defensive drop off from Izturis to Furcal is minimal, and that's not something that you can say about many shortstops. Izturis is now a piece of depth to dangle in trade, or something that could allow Jeff Kent to field first base with his inimitable truck-washing grace.
  2. Will Furcal's salary hurt the ability of the Dodgers to improve their team more? This is really the only thing that matters after the first point. It doesn't matter if the Dodgers pay Furcal $13M or $130M, if at the end of the day they're able to add more payroll. The Dodgers bring in plenty of money through attendance and cable deals, which is added to the pile made from their lucrative baby seal pelt, elephant tusk, and child labor ventures. They have the money, in theory. I think the upgrades will be minor from here out, but Furcal is not going to prevent them from spending money after 2006.
The Dodgers are a better team, even if by just a little bit, and it didn't hurt them in a race for a superior free-agent acquisition. It wasn't a choice between Furcal and Vlad; it was more likely a choice between Furcal and Jacque Jones, or something of that nature. I'm not a fan of the deal, but I also was able to get a cool eight hours of sleep last night without a problem.