It's a shame the St. Louis Cardinals weren't able to hang on to infielder Rafael Furcal who signed Thursday with the Miami Marlins.
Fural played shortstop for the 2011 World Series champions and held down the position for most of the 2012 season before injuring his elbow. Surgery wiped out all of the 2013 season and the Redbirds seemed content to let Furcal walk away when his contract ran out at the end of the year.
I can see why the Cardinals wouldn't want to entrust the starting shortstop job to an aging player coming off an injury. But the team is reported to be looking for a right-handed hittin infielder who can play second and back up at short and possibly third. Did the Birds ask Furcal about his potential interest in that role before letting Furcal walk? Or did they just decide it was best to part ways?
While he's not the player he was in his prime with the Atlanta Braves, Furcal seemed like a very good player to have on the roster. He's a veteran with a winning history, he's a positive player who is willing to mentor younger men on the roster and he's a guy who can do a lot of things for the team. Not the speed burner he used to be, Furcal could still steal a base if needed. A switch hitter, he could be a valuable weapon both as a defensive replacement or as a pinch hitter.
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Maybe Furcal wanted more playing time than the Redbirds could promise. The Marlins claim they plan to use the oft-injured 36-year-old infielder as their starting second baseman. It remains to be seen if he'll be able to hold up to that much wear and tear. But the $3 million salary Miami agreed to pay shouldn't have been something that was prohibitive for the Cardinals.