Uncommon Thievery: Non-trade candidates

Updated: June 13, 2007, 4:37 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com
Last week we discussed some underrated players to target in trade negotiations and free agent acquisitions, but sometimes winning in fantasy baseball is more about the deals you don't make than the deals you do. Here are three players who I won't be going after, despite the fact that their relatively low stolen base totals scream buy low.

Rafael Furcal, SS, LAD

I'm actually a pretty big fan of Furcal, and after he's nabbed 35-plus bases in each of the past two seasons, it's pretty hard not to call him a solid buy-low candidate. Unfortunately, there are just too many red flags for me here. Many don't realize this, but Furcal has just three 30-plus stolen base seasons in his seven-year major league career. Sure, he's consistently posted solid stolen base numbers, but he hasn't always been elite. Some of that can be blamed on the fact that for much of his career, he played for a manager who lost his love for the stolen base after the 2000 season (Bobby Cox). The biggest issue for Furcal these days, however, has nothing to do with his manager; it's his health. He is reaching a point in his career where nagging leg injuries are beginning to become a problem. Despite hitting leadoff for most of the season and reaching first base 73 times (50 singles, 23 walks) Furcal has just 10 stolen base attempts. That's only a .137 attempt rate, substantially worse than his .234 attempt rate in 2006. The lack of attempts can be blamed mostly on a sore right knee and lingering left ankle sprain. Unfortunately, both of these injuries need rest, and they could negatively affect his speed for the rest of the season, especially when it doesn't look like a trip to the disabled list is in the cards anytime soon. What's most troubling is that the knee giving him trouble is the same knee he had surgery on prior to the 2006 season. I hope his career on the bases isn't heading the way of Luis Castillo, but I don't want to find out with him on my roster.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.