Rafael Furcal Rumors

Brewers Looking For Bullpen, Infield Help

The Brewers stand to lose both Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez to free agency this winter, and GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he plans to talk to agents and look for bullpen help at the Winter Meetings next week (all Twitter links). Furthermore, the club is also looking to add infield help, though the only player they are actively trying to sign right now is Jerry Hairston Jr.

Jimmy Rollins, Alex Gonzalez, Rafael Furcal, and 2011 Brewer Yuniesky Betancourt are among the shortstops the club has checked in on. Melvin said he plans to meet with Betancourt's agent next week. Last week we heard that Milwaukee has already offered Hairston a one-year deal, but several other teams are interested as well. Melvin also confirmed that he does not have any offers out to free agent relievers at the moment.


National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.  

Updated team decisions:

Teams with automatic decisions only:


NL Central Notes: Furcal, Hanrahan, Astros, Brewers

I hesitated at first to include the Astros in these NL Central notes. Thankfully, I've got a year to remap the standings on my mind's sports page. On with the linkage …

  • The Pirates are looking at shortstop Rafael Furcal and other options at the position, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com, although not the premium types like Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins. It'll be interesting to see how the Bucs handle shortstop after declining Ronny Cedeno's $3MM 2012 option last month.
  • Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan would be receptive to working out an extension with the team, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, who reports that there have been no talks but that neither side has ruled it out, either. It's not a regular occurence in Pittsburgh, where Neal Huntington has dished out just one multiyear contract to a reliever, Matt Capps for 2008-09, since taking over in 2007, according to Langosch. Hanrahan is under team control for two more years and is due a sharp raise through arbitration on his $1.4MM 2011 salary coming off a 40-save campaign. The 30-year-old right-hander should earn $4MM in 2012 through arbitration.
  • New Astros owner Jim Crane said it was made clear to him before agreeing to purchase the Astros that the team would be moved to the AL, according to Astros senior director of social media Alyson Footer. Crane also cautioned not to expect the Astros to be big players in free agency this year, as they will instead focus on building the farm, and said payroll will "be in line with" incoming revenue (all Twitter links).
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he's interested in extending starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, as was reported yesterday, but that the sides haven't had talks yet and aren't in a rush to do so, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
  • Melvin also hasn't ruled out bringing Craig Counsell aboard as the Brewers' hitting coach, tweets McCalvy. Counsell, however, hasn't ruled out remaining in the game as a player.
  • Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said the Redbirds are "going to make every effort" to re-sign first baseman Albert Pujols, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. We heard earlier today and yesterday that the Cards and Pujols' agent have resumed talks.
  • New Cubs manager Dale Sveum may bring in Robin Yount as one of his coaches, writes Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun Times.


Furcal Believed To Be Seeking Multiyear Deal

3:42pm: There are eight teams chasing Furcal, four of them want Furcal at second base and four are interested in him at shortstop, agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden (via Twitter) on MLB Network Radio.

3:01pm: Interest in Furcal is heavy enough that the veteran should be able to get a deal to play shortstop, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The Tigers, Blue Jays, and Rockies all like him at second base.

9:19am: Rafael Furcal's agent Paul Kinzer is believed to be seeking a three-year deal, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, with two years and an option a possibility.  The Padres aren't inclined to guarantee multiple years to Furcal, and Kinzer indicated yesterday he's open to a shorter term for a higher average annual value.  Furcal did just that six years ago, taking a three-year, $39MM deal from the Dodgers when a longer term was available.

The idea of a multiyear free agent deal for Furcal at the time of his July 31st trade to St. Louis was laughable, given his health issues.  217 decent plate appearances for the Cards may have changed that, in the same way that a short stint after a trade earned Aaron Hill a two-year, $11MM contract.  The Brewers have some level of interest in Furcal for their shortstop opening, and the Rockies, Tigers, and Blue Jays checked in on him as a second baseman.  Regarding Kinzer meeting with the Brewers, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said, "I'm not going to base our reaction on rumors or innuendo.  But if I woke up tomorrow and he was signed I'd be a little disappointed."

Aside the situations with Furcal and Albert Pujols, Strauss says the Cardinals will look into bringing back relievers Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes.  The Cardinals are "apparently willing to exploit" their depth in right-handed relievers.


NL West Links: Street, Furcal, Prado, Rockies

The latest out of the National League West..

  • Rockies closer Huston Street is a name to keep in mind for the Red Sox, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
  • Based on multiple conversations with executives and agents, Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets that the Rockies are not in on free agent Rafael Furcal.  The shortstop is seeking a two-year deal in the $16MM range.
  • The Rockies don't feel as though they have to give up a center fielder to get Martin Prado from the Braves in a trade, so there is still hope for a deal, Renck tweets.  
  • If Prado isn't a possibility for the club, Orlando Hudson might be, says Renck (via Twitter).  However, the club is divided on whether he fits or if they would be better off turning to internal options instead.
  • Rockies General Manager Dan O'Dowd is after a "No. 3 or No. 4" pitcher, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.  The team's search has led them to talks with Roy Oswalt, and the team is being aggressive in their pursuit, according to several agents and executives, Renck tweets.  While Oswalt is interested, he's in no rush to sign with anyone.
  • Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will sell 100% of the team but retain the land outside of the Dodger Stadium parking lots in a deal that could be worth upwards of $1.3 billion, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
  • FOX Sports released a statement on the Dodgers' lawsuit against them and termed the action as the "latest chapter in the current owner's ongoing scheme to avoid honoring his contractual obligations," tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Brewers Rumors: Furcal, Aramis, Barmes, Reyes

Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:


Marlins Offered Jose Reyes Six Years, $90MM

The Marlins offered $90MM over six years to Jose Reyes, a source told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  They say Reyes is intrigued by playing in warm weather and for Ozzie Guillen.  Reyes wants a contract worth a minimum of $100MM, however, tweeted Joel Sherman of the New York Post yesterday.  More from Rosenthal and Morosi…

  • The Marlins have not discussed moving Hanley Ramirez to center field.
  • Many in the industry are skeptical of the sincerity of the Marlins' early offers to Reyes, Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle, and Ryan Madson, feeling the proposals are competitive but not good enough to accept.  
  • The Rangers and Angels are among the teams that are interested in both C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt.  The Nationals prefer Oswalt.  Both pitchers are clients of Bob Garber.
  • Heath Bell could benefit from the new collective bargaining agreement if teams no longer have to surrender a draft pick to sign Type A free agents who turned down arbitration.  Ramon Hernandez too, in my opinion.  I'm surprised to hear that such a change could be instituted for the 2012-13 offseason, after some teams made July trade decisions based on the old free agent compensation system.
  • The Padres want to trade Jason Bartlett or Orlando Hudson.  They are currently the only two players the Padres have under contract.  Bartlett's $5.5MM option for 2013 will vest with 432 plate appearances in 2012.
  • Rafael Furcal has drawn interest from the Rockies, Tigers, and Blue Jays as a second baseman, but he prefers to remain at shortstop.
  • Rosenthal and Morosi say not to rule out the Giants on Carlos Beltran yet.
  • The Angels will know more about Kendrys Morales' condition after January 1st.  Morales is still recovering from a fracture in his leg suffered in May of 2010.

Cardinals Rumors: Matheny, Francona, Sandberg

The latest on the Cardinals…

  • Francona and Oquendo seem to be favorites for the managerial opening, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter links).  However, Heyman hears Matheny is beloved by Cardinals people and has a "real shot" at the position.
  • Ryne Sandberg and Jose Oquendo are on deck for managerial interviews tomorrow, report Joe Strauss and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Terry Francona interviewed today.
  • GM John Mozeliak is hopeful the Cardinals will have a manager chosen by next week, though he won't artifically hasten the process, writes Goold.  Last week the Cardinals interviewed Chris Maloney, Joe McEwing, and Mike Matheny.
  • Rafael Furcal is willing to wait to negotiate a contract with the Cardinals until after their manager search concludes, according to Goold.
  • Albert Pujols is interested to hear the Cardinals' choice, writes Goold.  "Albert would stay if Oquendo got the job," former teammate David Eckstein told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports earlier this month.  

NL Central Notes: Furcal, Astros, Lee, Phillips

A pair of legendary former Cubs and Cardinals third basemen (Ron Santo and Ken Boyer) are among the 10 "Golden Era" figures to be considered for induction into the Hall Of Fame by the Veterans' Committee.  Some other news from the NL Central…

  • Rafael Furcal has told the Cardinals that he will wait for the team to hire a new manager before deciding where to play in 2012, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Paul Kinser, Furcal's agent, says six teams have already contacted him about Furcal's services but "we're not in a hurry."
  • A number of Cardinals writers note in a Post-Dispatch roundtable that the club apparently has no problem in hiring a manager with no Major League experience.
  • Jim Crane's purchase of the Astros will likely be approved at the owners' meetings in two weeks, reports Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.  Issues such as Crane's compensation for moving the team to the American League are still being negotiated but "for the first time since Crane and Drayton McLane shook hands on a deal almost six months ago, there‚Äôs a feeling within MLB that the deal will get done," Justice writes.
  • The Pirates are trying to re-sign Derrek Lee, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks the Reds are looking for an extension for Brandon Phillips in the neighborhood of four years and $48MM.  Fay also discusses several other Reds-related topics with fans as part of the online chat.
  • There are no hard feelings between Theo Epstein and Ryne Sandberg, Epstein tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  The two exchanged complimentary phone calls in the wake of the Cubs' statement that their new manager "must have managerial or coaching experience at the Major League level," which Sandberg doesn't possess.

Cardinals Decline Options On Dotel, Furcal

The Cardinals declined their options for Octavio Dotel and Rafael Furcal, according to the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated). The Cardinals will pay Dotel a $750K buyout instead of a $3.5MM salary and they'll pay Furcal a $1.3MM buyout instead of a $12MM salary.

Dotel, 37, arrived in St. Louis along with Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Jackson in the trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto. In 54 total innings for the Cardinals and Blue Jays, Dotel posted a 3.50 ERA with 10.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 30.1% ground ball rate. MLBTR reported today that Dotel is a Type A free agent.

Furcal, a Type B free agent, hit .231/.298/.348 in 369 plate appearances for the Dodgers and Cardinals in 2011, spending time on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. The 34-year-old shortstop started discussing an extension in September, but didn't reach an agreement.