Cardinals Re-sign Furcal
In the midst of the Angels introduction to Albert Pujols, the Cardinals announced that they had signed Rafael Furcal to a two year 14 million dollar deal. Furcal was a key member of the team, after he was acquired from the LA Dodgers for minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos. Furcal’s leadership, glove, bat, and clubhouse personality are reasons enough for the club re-signing him but I think the Cardinals offered him way too much money; seven million is a little bit outrageous to a player who has struggled with injuries and consistency over the past four seasons.
Furcal, 34, came up with the Atlanta Braves in 2000, a year in which he won the Rookie of the year award. He went on to play 6 seasons with the Braves until he signed on with the LA Dodgers during the 2005-2006 off season. His time in LA brought some success, but he struggled with staying healthy. Last season, Furcal played 87 games, in 2009 he played 97 games, in 2008 he played just 38 games. So signing him may have been questionable with his injury history, but if all goes wrong the Cardinals still have youngster Tyler Greene who I believe will be seeing a lot of playing time next season even if Furcal is healthy. Greene seems to be a favorite of GM John Mozeliak, and Mo’ has said on several occasions that he was to be the team’s starting shortstop next season and beyond, but it appears that won’t be the case. The Cardinals could try trading Greene, but with his little success in the majors they won’t get anything in return, similar to the mistake of trading Brendan Ryan just a year ago.
But we should focus on the positive of signing Rafael Furcal. He is a great leader and teammate which the Cardinals showed leads to success last season. He also has a history of speed, contact, and defense, though with his age some of those numbers have declined. However, he still has a few good years left in him if he can manage to stay healthy. He is a career .282 hitter, 108 HR, 536 RBI, and 302 stolen bases which are all good numbers for a short stop, he is a two time All star, and a World Series Champion. Last season with the Cardinals, Furcal put up a mediocre .255 AVG, 7 HR, 16 RBI’s, and scored 29 runs in 50 games with the Cardinals.
In the end I believe the move is good for the Cardinals, though I still think the money is a little bit outrageous since he is not worth $7 million a year anymore. However, he can bat lead off, something the Cardinals have struggled to find since the departure of David Eckstein after the 2006 season. He provides a security blanket if Tyler Greene fails to produce, and also he bridges the gap until prospect Ryan Jackson is able to come up from the minors.