Tag: Rafael Furcal

Rafael Furcal Retires: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Rafael Furcal, who spent 14 seasons playing for four Major League Baseball teams, has decided to retire at the age of 37.   

The Kansas City Royals, who signed the former All-Star shortstop in the offseason, announced the decision Tuesday on Twitter:

Furcal last played in the big leagues with the Miami Marlins during the 2014 season. He appeared in nine June games, hitting .171/.216/.229 in what would be his last hurrah. The veteran infielder did play in seven minor league games for Kansas City this season, ending his career with an 0-for-2 outing for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. 

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeted out the solid career slash line for Furcal:

During his prime with the Atlanta Braves from 2000-05, Furcal was one of the most dynamic shortstops in baseball. He was named National League Rookie of the Year in 2000 and made his first All-Star team in 2003. 

Injuries often plagued Furcal, even in his early years, as he only played in 79 games during the 2001 season. After leaving Atlanta following the ’05 season, he only played more than 100 games three times in eight years, including missing the entire 2013 season. 

Furcal had a terrific career that will always be haunted by the “what if” question had he been able to stay healthy. It speaks to his natural ability that he was still able to play in three All-Star games and post a solid .346 on-base percentage at a position where the offensive barrier isn’t very high. 

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Furcal Could Be the Cardinals’ Answer at Shortstop

While nothing has been said about Rafael Furcal returning to the St. Louis Cardinals, if the right deal doesn’t come along, it could be the smartest option.

The free agent market for this year is extremely slim—and there’s little doubt GM John Mozeliak would rather spend dollars (which they have) than prospects (which they cherish).

Scott Boras, the agent of Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew, hinted to Derrick Goold of STLToday.com that his client is interested in the Cardinals. However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Red Sox will make a qualifying offer to Drew.

Even if Drew doesn’t accept the offer, he may still go for a price and number of years beyond a range the Cardinals would view as reasonable.

With his injury history, three years would be a stretch to give to Drew.

Among the other free agents available are Jhonny Peralta and Brendan Ryan.

Peralta’s 2013 numbers would make him a solid fit, but there’s still a chance the Detroit Tigers could hang on to him as an outfielder, with Peralta telling John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press he’d like to stay with the organization. With that said, such a fit with the Tigers seems unlikely, having traded for Jose Iglesias.

Most likely, he will be looking for a multi-year deal upwards of $6 million. That doesn’t put him out of reach for the Cardinals, but they would likely be reluctant to pick up a player fresh off of a PED suspension.

Brendan Ryan is also available, but they already tried that. Great glove, no bat. In fact, Ryan batted 20 points lower than Pete Kozma.

In the end, the answer could come with a year (or half year) from Furcal. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

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Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals: Could It Mean Keeping Albert Pujols?

Updates 4:11: John Mozeliak stated during the Cubs/Cards game that he hopes the deal will be finalized by the end of the day. Apparently there are still a few kinks to work out, but the deal will be done. 

Update: 2:53: The latest reports are that there is now a deal in place. It boils down to the Dodgers giving cash and Furcal to the Cardinals for a “lower level prospect.” In other words the Cards are essentially adding him for free. 

The Dodgers get rid of some salary (but not all of it) and get a chance to play their prospect. 


The St. Louis Cardinals have been in hot negotiations all day with the Los Angles Dodgers in pursuit of the shortstop, Rafael Furcal. According to Scott Miller of CBS Sports, the Dodgers are close to asking Furcal to give his permission for the trade.

Furcal has 10 and 5 rights, which means that as a 10 year veteran and at least five with his current team, he must approve any trade. Previously Furcal has indicated he would be willing to waive those rights to go to St. Louis. ESPN confirms.

As of yet there doesn’t appear to be much information on what the Cardinals would be giving up, but it’s unlikely they’ll be giving up any of their key components in their roster. It also appears that the Dodgers would be eating a good amount of cash in the deal. 

While the Dodgers mainly benefit by getting rid of a contract and giving Dee Gordon a chance at becoming the full time shortstop, the Cards benefit is much greater. 

When the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday there was a lot of speculation that by re-signing him, there would be no way to keep Albert Pujols. This of course, was very much in contradiction with what Pujols had stated about what he wanted—to play for a contender. 

Amid all the swirling trade rumors and speculation of next year’s free agency the things that Pujols hasn’t said drown out the one thing which he has said.

Wild projections of $300 million and 10-year contracts aren’t coming from Pujols, but from media speculation. Those are projections which Pujols has publicly stated “are way off.” In fact, he’s even said that he and his agent have laughed at them.


To reiterate, what he has said is that he wants to play for a contender. Over the course of his time with the Cardinals, that’s certainly been the case. In fact, after just 10 seasons in the Majors, Pujols is already 34th all time with 56 postseason games played. 

Holliday was an aggressive acquisition to keep the Cardinals in playoff contention, as was the Colby Rasmus-for-Edwin Jackson deal earlier this week. Dealing Rasmus was a smart move by the Cardinals. Certainly he has a ton of potential but the emergence of John Jay has made Rasmus expendable.

In acquiring Jackson the Cards bolstered both their rotation and their bullpen as the acquisition enables career reliever Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen. Add in Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel and you have significantly stronger bullpen.

The need for these upgrades simply cannot be understated. The Cardinals have the third most blown saves in the Major with 16. Their ERA from the seventh inning on is 21st at 3.94. In other words, if baseball were a seven-inning game the Cardinals would have the best record in the Majors.

There are two reasons for the Cardinals late-inning woes. Firstly, the bullpen problem which has already been addressed. Secondly, there is the fielding problems they have. With 71 errors the Cards are tied for 22nd in the Majors. They are tied for the seventh most unearned runs allowed in baseball with 44.


This brings us, at long last, to the subject of Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols and why the acquisition of the former could be the key to the retention of the latter. If the rumors are true, that the Cardinals are aggressively trying to trade for the Dodgers shortstop, Pujols may be around for a very long time.

Ryan Theriot is frankly just not a good enough fielder to play the shortstop position. In fact, you could make the case that based on his zone runs (minus-10) and his fielding percentage (.958) he’s one of the two or three worst fielding shortstops in the game.

In fact, roughly one quarter of all the Cardinals’ unearned runs can be attributed to Theriot. Furthermore the Cardinals give up 4.21 runs when Theriot starts at short compared to 3.95 when he doesn’t. Clearly, he’s a defensive liability. 

Rafael Furcal is not the best fielder in the league. In fact, he’s somewhere between average and slightly above average, but that’s still a significant improvement over Theriot. Simply having a player who can make the plays he is supposed to make can be the difference between an unearned run and a double play, particularly in the Cardinals system where they pitch for the ground ball.

While he’s had the inferior season with the bat, lately Furcal has been coming around. It may simply be a matter of motivation. His career OPS is 30 points higher. Certainly he’s been looking like he’s playing like he wants to be traded. His OPS over the last nine games is .862 to go with five RBI and five runs.


Furcal isn’t going to lead a team anywhere by himself but he could be the final piece of the puzzle this year for the Cardinals.

Offensively, particularly when they have their titanic trio in place, they are absolutely lethal. In fact, in the 45 games where the Cards have had Bekrman, Holliday and Pujols all in place, the Cardinals have scored an average of 5.4 runs per game. In games where one of the three is missing they’ve only averaged 4.6.

If that’s not convincing enough for you throw in their hot young third baseman, David Freese (.865 OPS). When he’s in the lineup along with the other three, the Cards are averaging a whopping 5.8 runs per game. If Yadier Molina (.775) and Skip Schumaker (.699)  start along with those four, the Cards average 6.3 runs.

Don’t be deceived. The Cardinals are a better team than their record indicates. They have been battling injuries all season long. Add the newly designated starting center fielder to the mix and with those seven players you’ve got a starting lineup with a combined OPS of .826.

Furcal has been able to hit in hitting lineups. While this season he’s been somewhere between absolutely cataclysmic and merely abysmal for most of it, that probably has as much to do with playing on a bad, bankrupt team, with no chance of going anywhere as anything. Any Dodger right now would benefit from a change in environment.


He’s hit in the past, and in a heavy-hitting Cardinals lineup, he would hit well again.     

While Berkman is out with a minor shoulder injury right now, the Cardinals are finally looking like they are on the precipice of finally having the middle of their order healthy for the first time. Actually having their starting lineup, um, starting is going to make a difference offensively.

Not only that the team has a couple of other very exciting young players who will be back in August. Allen Craig, who had a very healthy .928 OPS before going down with injury is coming back at at the beginning of the month. 

Eduardo Sanchez, the electric young pitcher who had a 1.88 ERA, a 1.047 WHIP and a 193 ERA+ before going down with injury is expected back at the end the month. His addition should further shore up bullpen.   

Adding the pitching through trades and getting healthy should result in the Cardinals giving up fewer runs.  Adding a better glove would result in fewer runs. Getting healthy will result in more runs scored. Scoring more runs while giving up fewer runs should result in winning more games.

There’s every reason to think that they can still win the Central division. In fact, adding Furcal would make them the favorites to win it, if they aren’t already after the Jackson trade.

Once they get into the postseason and can field that enormously potent lineup every game the Cardinals have every chance of winning a series against Philadelphia or San Francisco. Putting up a lineup with an aggregate .800 OPS would put the adage about “good pitching beats good hitting” to the test. 

Besides that, a trio of starters that includes Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Edwin Jackson on the mound isn’t too shabby either.

The rumors are rampant that the Cardinals are making a play to win one last World Series before they lose Albert Pujols. I think they’re actually making a run at a World Series to keep Albert Pujols. Again, I put more stock in what he says he thinks that pure media speculation.  

He says he wants to stay in St. Louis if they do what it takes to stay competitive. Nothing says competitive like winning another World Series. If the Cards win it all, then Pujols stays, and Furcal might be just what they need to put them over the top.  

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MLB: Do Milwaukee Brewers Have Right Prospects for Jose Reyes or Rafael Furcal?

The Milwaukee Brewers farm system has been talked about all spring, but for all the wrong reasons.

After unloading a boatload of young talent to acquire two top-tier starters before Christmas, a common thought has been that the Brewers have the worst system in all of baseball. Yes, in order to acquire Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers had to shell over their top prospects in Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi and Alcides Escobar, among others.

First of all, saying that one team has a better farm system than another is like saying both teams are playing the lottery, but Team A has five tickets while Team B only has one. Just because one team has more tickets doesn’t mean they’re going to win.

For the last 10 years, the Kansas City Royals have been regarded as having one of the league’s best farm systems. When was the last time the Royals made the playoffs? Their roster is filled with “top prospects,” yet they’ve been lucky to reach 70 wins over the last decade. Don’t let their fast start this season fool you–they will be in the cellar of the AL Central by early-June at the latest.

With prospects, it’s either hit or miss. Some will get hurt and never make it, while others will tear it up in minor league ball but flame out in the majors. There is no such thing as a “sure thing,” especially in baseball.

To acquire the services of Jose Reyes or Rafael Furcal the Brewers would have to deplete their system even further, but it is definitely possible. Both are in the final year of their contracts and would give the Brewers a legitimate two-hole bat while removing the defensive liability currently at shortstop in Yuniesky Betancourt. With Furcal expected to be on the disabled list until mid-May, the Brewers may even be able to snag him for a discount.

It just so happens that both the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are off to sluggish starts in top-heavy divisions, and both the Mets and Dodgers owners’ are in the midst of financial uncertainty and may be looking to unload payroll of players who may not be back in 2012.  

Shortstop and bullpen help are the only glaring needs for the Brewers at this point, but they have three arms on the disabled list that should all return to action in the near future. Knowing that Brewers GM Doug Melvin likes to get his work done quietly and well before the actual trade deadline, this means he could be on the prowl for a shortstop beginning in mid-June.

Do the Brewers have the pieces to get a deal done for Reyes or Furcal?

Believe it or not, the Brewers still have plenty of prospects that could make an impact on a major league roster sooner rather than later, including a plethora of young pitching prospects.

RHP Wily Peralta, a first-round pick in 2005, opened plenty of eyes with a solid spring and is ready for a chance in the big league’s. Then there are RHP’s Eric Arnett, Cody Scarpetta, and Kyle Heckathorn who are all a a year or two away from being ready to pitch in the majors, depending on the situation. Out of the four, Arnett may be the only one with whom Melvin would be reluctant to trade. 

On the offensive side the Brewers top prospect could be OF Kentrail Davis, who is projected to be ready for the majors as soon as 2012. Davis has speed and power, and he’s shown the ability to be a strong defender in both center-field and right-field.

They also have middle-infield prospects in second-baseman Eric Farris and shortstop Scooter Gennett, both who are still a few seasons away from making an impact on a major league club.

When dealing with two of the largest MLB markets in New York and Los Angeles, the Brewers won’t necessarily need to ship away major league ready talent in return for Reyes or Furcal, although Peralta could be expendable at this point since the Brewers rotation is locked up through the 2012 season (at a minimum).

Fielder leaving after the season as a Type A free-agent will net the Brewers two draft picks to help replenish the system, so they can afford to send a few prospects away in return for “proven” talent. The organization is already in a “win now” attitude, so why hold back at this point? 

Plus, an NL Pennant would look great on the mantle next to the Lombardi Trophy. 

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2011 LA Dodgers: The Effects of Rafael Furcal’s Broken Finger

Rafael Furcal recently broke his finger sliding into third base. He will be out at least four to six weeks, which is a huge hit to the Dodgers. He is the leadoff hitter and a very good shortstop. I will answer some questions about the effects.

Who will hit leadoff?

When Tony Gwynn is in the lineup, he will be the leadoff hitter. Jamey Carroll will probably hit leadoff the other days, but Matt Kemp is a possibility.

Who will replace his roster spot?

Ivan DeJesus, most likely.

How sorely will he be missed?

He will be missed very much as he is the energy battery of this lineup. Without his speed and hitting ability at the top of the order, there will be fewer runs scored. The pitching will have to be extraordinarily good, which is a lot to ask.

Will the defense take a hit?

I don’t think it will, just due to the fact that Carroll is a solid option. He doesn’t have as strong of an arm, but he will make all the necessary plays.

Is Furcal unlucky, or injury-prone?

That is a good question as this injury was very unlucky, but with his history of getting injured, I think you can call him injury-prone.

Hopefully the Dodgers can keep the ship steady until their injury-prone shortstop comes back.

Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think the effects will be in the comments section, or ask any questions you may have.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: 10 Under-the-Radar Spring Training Storylines to Follow

With spring training now at its peak and Cactus League play in full gear, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in the national spotlight of the sports media in regards to a number of popular storylines.

Team ownership is obviously at the forefront, as Frank McCourt was anticipating a $200 million cash advance from Fox until the transaction was blocked by MLB commissioner Bud Selig late last week. It’s unclear exactly where the overall finances of the club lie, but the fact that McCourt was involved in plotting such a deal doesn’t sound encouraging.

In the meantime, the divorce ordeal between Frank and Jamie continues to trudge along. Frank’s gun is loaded with the intention of new trials and appeals, while Jamie continues to express interest in gaining some type of control of the organization. However, the team, the fans and Major League Baseball itself would love nothing more than to see this tedious affliction become resolved.

As for player news, the absence of reliever Ronald Belisario from his third consecutive spring training start also captured its fair share of headlines. While Belisario continues to offer excuses about being separated from the team, he still remains in his native Venezuela. Most analysts around the league seem to agree that he’s already seen his last days wearing Dodger Blue.

Vicente Padilla, re-signed by general manager Ned Colletti to bolster the bullpen and provide insurance to the starting rotation, has already been under the knife to fix a recurring wrist injury that has been bothering him for more than a year. According to various opinions, Padilla may begin throwing again in as little as three-to-four weeks.

The passing of Dodger legend Duke Snider, who could arguably be known as the greatest player the franchise has ever seen, brought a somber moment of sadness to Dodgers fans far and wide. Without a doubt, for his contributions to the Dodger legacy, the Duke will be remembered for eternity.

As all the aforementioned news made headlines nationwide, a number of storylines which are critical to the club’s success continue to fly under the radar. The following slides highlight 10 such stories, as well as offer a brief commentary about each topic shown.

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L.A. Dodgers: 10 Reasons Dee Gordon Will Be Starting at SS By Season’s End

Following in the footsteps of his father, Tom Gordon, 22-year-old Dee Gordon is currently on the fast track to play in the major leagues for one of baseball’s highest profile teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gordon is currently ranked first on Baseball America as the Dodger’s top prospect.

Widely considered as a tremendous hitter and fielder, Gordon may also be the best all-around athlete in the highly talented farm system.

With the hype surrounding Gordon, there is a great chance that he will be starting at shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers by the end of the season.

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Rafael Furcal, Scott Rolen and The 15 Best Infielder Arms In MLB History

It seems that almost every day a new list of strongest arms in the MLB is published. The problem with almost all of these lists is that they only include outfielders.

There is definitely some logic behind this, because in general outfielders do have stronger arms than infielders, and get to show them off more.

But, believe it or not there are infielders who have great arms too, and for once they are going to get the recognition they deserve.

The problem with rating infielder arms is that there are two very different ways to look at it, accuracy or power. This list has some players that are better at one and some that are better at the other.

What makes an infielder’s arm especially special is if they can master both of these skills, strong, powerful throws on a line to the glove.

Feel free to offer your comments below on what players should or should not have been on this list.

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Top Current L.A. Dodgers Likely To Make It To the Hall of Fame

With the latest installment of Hall of Fame inductees being honored Sunday, the concept of current players with the ability to make it to the Hall of Fame is once again on the minds of fans around the league.

The Dodgers have a talented outfield and some well-known names in the infield. There’s a “sure thing,” a “quite likely,” and a “possibly,” on the Dodgers roster when it comes to the Hall of Fame, and some big names that may not make it.

Here are three players I feel have a legitimate chance at finding their way to Cooperstown, and some honorable mentions that might just miss the mark.

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What Will Save the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Second Half?

It’s been depressing, disheartening, and discomforting to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers (49-45), who have not won a game since the All-Star break (0-6).

Last night the Dodgers suffered a gut-wrenching loss to their rival San Francisco Giants when Andrew Torres hit a go-ahead, two-run double off the wall in the ninth inning off reliever George Sherill. 

Don Mattingly then replaced Sherrill with Travis Schlichting, who gave up an RBI single later in the inning to the Giants’ red-hot catcher Buster Posey. 

Then in the bottom of the ninth, after the Giants had taken a 7-5 lead, the Dodgers last chance at recovery—Andre Ethier—stepped up to the plate with a man on second. After hitting a two-run home run earlier in the game, and notorious for producing in clutch moments throughout the season, Ethier had momentum on his side.

But what began as a hopeful 2-0 count evaporated into a demoralizing strikeout for the All-Star outfielder, sealing the Dodgers’ sixth straight loss.

After manager Joe Torre was ejected earlier in the game, Don Mattingly took over, but made a potentially game-changing, managerial mistake in the top of the ninth. Mattingly approached closer Jonathan Broxton, who appeared just moments away from blowing his second save in three days, but then made the fatal error of stepping off the mound only to retreat a few steps back after hearing first basemen James Loney utter a question in the distance.

Rule 8.06(d) in the Major League Baseball rulebook states that only one visit can be made to the mound per inning by a manager or coach without removing the pitcher. Two visits to the same pitcher in the same inning means that pitcher automatically has to be taken out. The rule declares that “a manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber.”

Consequently, when Mattingly approached Jonathon Broxton on the mound two separate times, it forced the Dodgers’ intimidating and experienced closer to leave the game and be replaced by Sherill. 

The Dodgers handed the Giants a second victory in a row, but that was just the bitter topping on the cake for the slew of games the Dodgers have thrown away since returning from the All-Star break.

Being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals was a tough blow, but realistically they faced the stellar pitching of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, which completely shut them down. 

But on the other hand, where was the Dodgers pitching? 

Well, it’s where it has been all season, mediocre and inconsistent.

While no team is flawless, the Los Angeles Dodgers most visible and detrimental issue has been their pitching staff. Other than Vicente Padilla, who has proven truly reliable on the mound, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda continue to struggle and remain in a desperate search of their rhythm.

Even Broxton, a two-time All-Star, continues to underperform. After the Cardinals took two games from the Dodgers last week, Broxton let the third slip away last Sunday in a grueling 5-4 loss.

Neither Dodger All-Star has shined since the break. Other than last night’s two-run home run, the powerful bat of Andre Ethier has been non-existent.

Aside from the burden of a capricious pitching staff, the Dodgers are without a leader. Ethier is too young, Loney too erratic, and Matt Kemp is too unpredictable. Though players like Rafael Furcal and Manny Ramirez have the experience, they have been plagued by injury.

In fact, in the midst of the Dodgers’ despair, Ramirez was just put on the disabled list with a strained calf.

Los Angeles is lagging behind a surprising San Diego Padres juggernaut, a resurgent Colorado Rockies team and the streaky San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers’ bats need to be reawakened and rescue them from this bundle of losses.

A more consistent, dependable pitcher like Hong-Chih Kuo should replace the turbulent Broxton.

Finally, Joe Torre needs to come to the team’s aid and revive it from this losing streak.

There is still a lot of baseball to be played and with an upcoming schedule that looks to be in their favor, hopefully the Dodgers can take advantage and regain their confidence and control.

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