Cheap Seats

Rumor Mill: Rafael Furcal

Cardinals free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal seems to be getting a lot of attention these days, which probably makes the odds of his return to the Redbirds pretty long.

The latest word is that the Pirates are interested in having the ranging -- but aging -- shortstop man the middle of their infield. Prior to that there have been reports that the Brewers might be interested in adding Furcal to their roster.

Because of the interest, Furcal is said to be asking for a three-year contract -- although he may be interested in taking a two year deal with an option, according to the veteran shortstop's agent. I think that legth of a deal will probably scare off St. Louis. The Cardinals seemed inclined to bring back Furcal on a one-year deal in the $5 million range.

Furcal said late in the season and again after the World Series that his top priority was to return to St. Louis. And he specifically mentioned that he would be willing to wait to see how the Albert Pujols free agency thing played out because it was obvious the Cardinals were previously occupied.

But, as I said during the Birds' post-season run, I believe Furcal's likelihood of coming back to the Redbirds dropped tremendously when the club won the 2011 World Series. Why? Because Furcal wanted desperately to get a ring. Now he's got it, so he can get back to the business of trying to make the most money possible.

If there are multi-year offers on the table, Furcal is certain to take them over a one-year contract. And, unless Pujols walks away and the Cardinals find themselves flush with $25 million that they didn't plan to have, I don't see them opening up the vault for a guy who hit .215 last season.

Personally, I would rather have Pujols and Tyler Greene at short than Furcal at short and Lance Berkman at first base.