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Bucs choose Barmes over Furcal

The Pirates have apparently turned away from Cardinals free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal as they look for middle infield help.

According to multiple reports, the Bucs are close to a two-year contract with former Astros infield Clint Barmes to be their shortstop. The deal is reportedly going to bring Barmes more than $10 million.

Furcal has received interest from several teams including another National League Central division rival, the Brewers. But he has told the Cardinals that he was willing to wait for the club to work out their negotiations with superstar slugger Albert Pujols before turning their attention to him.

I wonder if that's a sound strategy, however. If the Redbirds are able to sign Pujols, I'm not sure they're going to have the kind of money left that Furcal wants. He's said to be asking for a multi-year deal and I certainly doubt he's going to take less than Barmes who is similarly long in the tooth while not the offensive force that Furcal has been over the course of his career.