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UPDATE: Cardinals reach two-year deal with Rafael Furcal

Dec 10, 2011, 2:43 PM EDT

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

UPDATE: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears that the Cardinals and Furcal have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth around $14 million, pending a physical. Take that, Angels.

2:27 PM: Jon Paul Morosi of reports that the two sides are “finishing up” a two-year contract which is likely worth around $14 million. That’s a little steep for someone who has struggled to stay on the field in recent years.

1:01 PM: Jimmy Rollins is close to losing another potential suitor.

Ken Rosenthal of hears that the Cardinals are “making progress” on a deal with free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal. The 34-year-old is currently seeking a multi-year contract, but Alex Gonzalez‘s deal with the Brewers this week may create a domino effect among the remaining free agent shortstops.

Furcal batted .231/.298/.348 with eight home runs, 28 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .646 OPS over 368 plate appearances this past season between the Dodgers and Cardinals. Though he struggled with the bat during the Cards’ postseason run, he managed to stay healthy and was a steady presence defensively.

Rollins was probably never a realistic option with St. Louis in the first place, but one wonders whether they’ll make a push for Carlos Beltran with some of their excess cash.

  1. cintiphil - Dec 10, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    This is probably going to solidify the redbirds infield. With Descalso at 2nd and Berkman at first. Now, all they have to do is teach Freese how to field. (A big IF).

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      Freese fields just fine if they allow him to play where a 3B should be playing, somewhere behind the bag….having him on the front edge of the IF dirt so that RHB can shoot lasers at him isn’t a good idea…he’s not Adrian Beltre, but then, few are.

    • hustleandflomax - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      Freese is a league-average defensive 3rd baseman who is capable of blowing the easy play once in awhile but also capable of making a spectacular run-saving play. Cards fans have no problem with Freese defensively. His bat more than makes up for it anyways.

    • randygnyc - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      Yeah, he will won’t fill the devastating hole left by Albert’s departure.

    • dwrek5 - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:57 PM

      Not sure where this “Freese cant play defense” thing came from. What if TLR took him out of game 6? Rangers are World Series champs.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Considering what’s out there, Furcal is probably the best available option for them, nothing over a year or 2 I hope..

    As for teaching Freese how to play D, dude plays on reconstructed ankles so the range ship has sailed – I think he may be as good as he’s going to get.

    • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      Freese is a much better defensive player than is described here. No wizard for sure but he is not a liability either. This is why having Descalso as a late-inning replacement works so well. The fewer unnecessary innings Freese plays the better. It is why Punto is valuable, cause he is a wizard at 2B, can slide over to spell Furcal, as can Descalso. If Greene can contribute all the better, but his defense is suspect. Unfortunately, Schumaker is still in the mix, and a viable argument that he is a better hitter than either Punto or Descalso, and has the added ability to play any OF position. Hard to see how they all can be on the roster, especially when in all likelyhood the Cards are going to have to carry a back-up First baseman, to spell Berkman, especially if they only carry two catchers.

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        If Matt Carpenter is up with the club, he can play some 1B and is actually a plus corner OF defensively. If they don’t sign another OFer, I would guess Skip sticks around for his versatility, but I would prefer someone like Punto for the IF and a legitimate OF so that Jay can be the 4th OF or a plantoon guy, which is probably where he belongs.

      • cintiphil - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Hey, I like the guy and wish we had him in Cinti. But he looked TERRIBLE, not just poor in the W-S. If he didn’t make it up with the bat, he would have been my pick for the goat. He may have some health issues, but he still has to improve with the glove. You can’t excuse that away. We have a guy here (Yonder) who is younger than him and also a great potential power hitter. But, if he doesn’t play better (much) in the field, he is off the to AL for DH spot. Freese has to improve in the field, but that is teachable to some extent.

      • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        Freese actually played exceptional defense in the early post-season, did have three blunders in the WS, but made a few other valuable plays. He turns the DP well, has a strong accurate arm, and goes to his left with above average range.

        In no way does he even approach Yonder Alonso’s horrid defense. He will be a liability even at 1B, and he cannot, I repeat, cannot play any place else. He is a DH, and the Reds better get what they can for him, while he is still somewhat unknown. Young DHs, just do not bring that great a return, just ask the Yanks and Montero, and he is still considerably better defensively.

        As for Carpenter, I would assume you are correct about his OF abilities, didn’t see him there last Spring, and he should be able to transfer decent talents to 1B. We are going to have to keep Komatsu as a utility OFer, or lose him

      • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        If the team plans on competing, they probably can’t afford to waste a roster spot on Komatsu….I would guess that he is offered back for for $25K and the Cardinals hope they are just told to keep him.

  3. okwhitefalcon - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    From Jon Morosi’s twitter..

    @jonmorosi Jon Morosi

    “Source: Rafael Furcal’s two-year deal with #STLCards will “likely” come in around $14 million.”

    • cintiphil - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      Don’t get too excited yet. Remember, Albert was a sure thing for the Cards, about a week ago.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        Albert was never a “sure thing” unfortunately, they had plenty of time to make it one but they didn’t.

        As for Furcal excitement, he’s a better option than Tyler Greene so I guess that’s good news.

  4. cup0pizza - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    He’ll be on the DL half of the time. It’s always something with Furcal.

    • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

      In his 11 seasons as a Big Leaguer, Furcal has played 150 or more games 5 time, 138 once and 143 another. Granted he has been shelved, at times significantly, but it is inaccurate to suggest that he is “always” hurt.

  5. cup0pizza - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    In the past 4 seasons Furcal has played 36/150/97/87 games. That’s incredibly unreliable, and he ain’t getting any younger. I’ll go with his recent past as an injury-prone player who misses more games than he appears in, as opposed to you cherry-picking the numbers from early in Furcal’s career, chukar.

  6. sfm073 - Dec 10, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    What other options did the cardinals have? This fills a hole for the team and we still have money to go after Beltran. Freese is fine at 3b. There are very few
    Fans in Stl worries about his defense.

  7. mojosmagic - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Way to much money for a guy like Furcal.

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