Rafael Furcal Rumors


NL Notes: LaRoche, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals

Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:

  • Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams. 
  • A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
  • Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
  • Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
  • The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
  • Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break." 

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.



Mozeliak Talks Furcal, Kozma, Lefty Relief

For the most part, the Cardinals are well-positioned for the 2013 season. They’ll consider upgrades in the middle infield and hope their injured players recover quickly. Other than that, their biggest offseason need might be left-handed relief. GM John Mozeliak addressed his team’s offseason plans at the GM Meetings today in a conversation with MLBTR. Here are some highlights:

  • The Cardinals like internal middle infield options such as Rafael Furcal, Pete Kozma and even prospect Kolten Wong. Mozeliak said he’s “very hesitant” to seek a long-term answer in the middle infield at this point. “We feel like we do have some depth there, but clearly if Furcal were injured we might have to look at it a little differently,” the GM said. The shortstop dealt with an elbow injury late this past season.
  • Kozma’s late-season performance “definitely saved him” his roster spot, according to Mozeliak. The Cardinals like the shortstop’s energy and enthusiasm. 
  • Mozeliak said the Cardinals would offer free agent relievers multiyear deals under the right circumstances. “It really comes down to seeing if we can find the right fit for the role we’re looking for,” he said, acknowledging that the Cardinals are interested in adding a left-handed reliever.



NL Central Notes: Rizzo, Pirates, Appel, Cardinals

The Cardinals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over the Cubs this afternoon.  Yadier Molina was the hero for St. Louis, delivering a walkoff RBI single to cinch the victory.  Here's the latest from around the NL Central...

  • Theo Epstein was hesitant to make the trade that brought Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs since Epstein didn't want to give up Andrew Cashner, reports Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago.  It was Cubs GM Jed Hoyer who "aggressively pushed" for the deal.  Levine covers a number of different Cubs (and White Sox) topics in this online chat with readers.
  • The Pirates aren't likely to make a trade to address their hitting problems, GM Neal Huntington told reporters (including Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).  “There are very, very few trades of substance made in May and there are few trades of substance made in June, so our solutions are going to have to come internally unless we’re willing to be less than intelligent and dramatically overpay. That’s just the way it is," Huntington said.  “We’re certainly looking externally, but the extra wild card has made it that much more of a challenge. There are fewer sellers out there, and we’re going to have to be creative.”
  • ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) has released his first 2012 mock draft and he projects the Astros to take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first overall pick.  "The general feeling is that they'll take the college arm over the higher-upside, higher-risk outfielder, Byron Buxton," Law writes, though he notes that Houston's decision could also be determined by which player is willing to sign for the lowest price beneath the $7.2MM slot figure for the first pick.
  • Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal's hot starts have fueled the Cardinals' big offensive numbers, writes Scott Miller for CBS Sports.



Cardinals, Furcal Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Cardinals and Rafael Furcal have reached agreement on two-year deal, pending a physical, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  Furcal's two-year deal will likely come in around $14MM, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

Furcal, 34, hit .255/.316/.418 with seven homers in 217 plate appearances after being traded to St. Louis at the deadline last year.  He was said to be seeking a multi-year contract last month.  Furcal recently underwent an appendectomy but is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

The signing shrinks the market for Jimmy Rollins even further and could signal his return to the Phillies.  The Cardinals were known to have interest in the shortstop and had more money to spend after the departure of Albert Pujols.  However, the club wasn't willing to give Rollins the five-year deal that he seeks.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) first reported that the two sides were making progress towards a new deal while Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted that a deal was close.



Cardinals, Furcal Close On Two-Year Deal

1:31pm: Furcal's two-year deal will "likely" come in around $14MM, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

1:26pm: The two sides are "finishing up" talks on a two-year deal, a source tells Morosi (via Twitter).  Furcal's deal will be worth more than $12MM, Morosi tweets.

11:32am: The Cardinals and Rafael Furcal are making progress towards a new deal reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). It would rule out another possible destination for Jimmy Rollins, mentions Rosenthal.

Furcal, 34, hit .255/.316/.418 with seven homers in 217 plate appearances after being traded to St. Louis at the deadline last year. He was said to be seeking a multi-year contract last month. Furcal recently underwent an appendectomy but is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.



Cardinals Rumors: Beltran, Romero, Gonzalez, Punto

Derrick Goold and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have a round-up of what the Cardinals could be planning now that Albert Pujols has left town...

  • The Cardinals "have explored what the market is" for Carlos Beltran.  Beltran would see most of his playing time in center field, since Allen Craig is slated to be the everyday right fielder.
  • Jimmy Rollins' desire for a five-year contract will probably keep the Cards out of the bidding unless Rollins is willing to accept a shorter-term deal.  The team is still talking to Rafael Furcal and would like to bring back Nick Punto as a veteran backup, should the Cardinals decide to look within and give Tyler Greene a shot at the everyday shortstop job.
  • The team is looking for a left-handed reliever and have spoken to representatives for Mike Gonzalez and J.C. Romero
  • The planned $110MM payroll for 2012 won't be lowered because Pujols is gone, said GM John Mozeliak.
  • In regards to the Jake Westbrook/Kyle Lohse trade rumors, Mozeliak said no deals materialized and one of the starters would be dealt only if the Cards need to "reallocate" some money towards another move.



Brewers Notes: K-Rod, Shortstop, Saito

The Brewers are on the hook for a likely salary in excess of $11.5MM for reliever Francisco Rodriguez next year, after K-Rod accepted their arbitration offer.  The latest on the team after GM Doug Melvin met with reporters:

  • Melvin said he doesn't have to trade Rodriguez to clear payroll space, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  The Brewers feel good about the back end of the bullpen now, and Melvin noted that Rodriguez's added cost should be considered less the $3MM he would have had to spend to sign two compensatory draft picks.  That estimate doesn't hold water if you assume the Brewers would have received, say, the Padres' second-round pick plus a supplemental choice.  Slot for two picks of that nature would probably total $1.25MM.
  • Asked about Aramis Ramirez, Melvin said, "Anybody that's still a free agent is a possibility."
  • Melvin hopes to zero in on a shortstop early next week.  Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, and Rafael Furcal are the candidates, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
  • Melvin gave some parameters to Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, which didn't change post K-Rod.  It's not an official offer, but Melvin expects Balelo to try to get more from another team.  Six to eight teams have shown interest in Saito, Balelo told WEEI's Alex Speier yesterday.



Furcal Unlikely To Sign With Brewers

Rafael Furcal is likely headed for a team other than the Brewers, tweets Tom Haudricourt, increasing the chances of them re-signing Yuniesky Betancourt.



Free Agent Notes: Young, Ross, Cespedes, Oswalt

Stray notes on various free agents...

  • Dmitri Young is attending the Winter Meetings in Dallas, searching for a contract offer. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that Young has lost 70 pounds and would go to Japan if he can't land a job with an MLB team. The 38-year-old last appeared in the bigs in 2008 with the Nationals.
  • Outfielder Cody Ross seeks a three-year deal, an NL official tells ESPN's Buster Olney.  The 30-year-old hit .240/.325/.405 in 461 plate appearances for the Giants this year, playing all three outfield positions. He told Jaymee Sire of CSN Bay Area that the Giants are his "number one choice" (Twitter link).
  • The agent for soon-to-be free agent center fielder Yoenis Cespedes is telling teams he'll require twice what fellow Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman received, tweets ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes.  That is, $60MM.  The Rangers, by the way, are unlikely to pursue Cespedes, hears MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
  • Roy Oswalt's camp is waiting for C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle to sign to see the exact market, as most teams view Oswalt as a fallback option, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • Free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal underwent an appendectomy last week, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown, and is recovering well at home in Florida.
  • Teams are looking at Edgar Renteria as a multi-position utility guy, including third base, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Renteria wants to play for a contender.



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.









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