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Fantasy Baseball Effects Of Free Agent Signings

Rafael Furcal is back with the Braves.There have been a handful of free agent signings over the past few days. Is anyone questioning whether Cesar Izturis is now a usable fantasy baseball player after signing with the Orioles? Wondering what to do with Joey Gathright now that he is a Cubbie? I didn’t think so.

While Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez still try to figure out where they want to play next year, here’s some analysis on recent free agent signings that matter. Read on below.

Rafael Furcal re-signs with the Dodgers: I had this piece ready to go when Furcal was going to sign with the Braves and then, oops, he resigned with the Dodgers. Furcal only played 36 games in 2008, but what a great 36 games they were. He batted .357 with 5 home runs, 34 runs, 16 RBI, and 8 steals. At the shortstop position, Furcal’s lack of power can leave something to be desired, but he typically hits over 10 home runs. If healthy, he will steal over 20 bases and has a history of scoring over 100 runs a year.

If he drove in more runs, I could see ranking Furcal ahead of Michael Young for 2009 fantasy baseball shortstops. I think he’s just an inch behind Young, however, when it comes to fantasy value. That said, he’s a top 100 fantasy player and top 5 shortstop. There are worse players you could end up with as your starting shortstop in ’09.

Raul Ibanez PhilliesRaul Ibanez signs with the Philadelphia Phillies: Ibanez should see an increase in fantasy value after signing with the Phillies – who doesn’t when they play 81 in Citizens Bank Park? Keep in mind that Ibanez is still going to turn 37 next season. That said, we’ve all seen what playing for the Phils can do for an elder statesman’s career (Jamie Moyer, anyone?) so he still likely has several productive years left.

Ok, well even though Ibanez is a solid hitter, playing for the Phils doesn’t mean he becomes a no. 1 outfielder or anything. He batted .293 with 23 homers, 110 RBI, 85 runs and 2 steals in 2008. You probably want more steals out of no. 2 outfielder, but he is still a mid-no. 2 OF or high end no. 3 in 2009.

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