UPDATE: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said earlier tonight that Rafael Furcal’s broken thumb won’t require surgery, but that he’ll still be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
8:48 AM: The Dodgers shut the Giants down yesterday, but now it looks like their shortstop is going to be shut down too: Rafael Furcal broke his left thumb sliding into third base in the fifth inning. He stayed in the game until he was pinch-hit for in the seventh, but he said that he knew it was broke as soon as it happened.
Frucal has had a number of injuries in recent years, including a recently-aching wrist, back problems, and hamstring problems. This one is going to put him on the shelf for six weeks.
Furcal hadn’t started hitting yet — he was five for his first 26 to kick off the season — but this is a pretty big loss for the Dodgers. Last year he hit .300/.366/.460 in 96 games. Jamey Carroll, who has started the season off with a hot bat, will take his place. Carroll is no spring chicken — he’s my age for cryin’ out loud — so the Dodgers may soon make a move for some infield depth. In the short term, however, they’ll probably call up Ivan De Jesus, Jr. from Albuquerque.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.