As the press conference in Anaheim presenting Albert Pujols was under way, the news was reported from Rafael Furcal‘s agent that he has agreed to a $14 million, 2 year contract to return to the Cardinals. The contract will be finalized after a physical next week.
Furcal, 34, proved to be a vital glove man at short stop down the stretch for the Cardinals, however, his hitting left much to be desired. Spending his time in the leadoff spot, Furcal had a line of .255/.316/.418 in his 50 games in Cardinals red. He followed that up with a line of .195/.244/.325. However, without him the Cardinals probably don’t make the run they do. He was credited with the advent of the “Happy Flight” mantra that had the team winning getaway game after getaway game late in the season.
My personal opinion on this deal is that the Cardinals ended up paying way too much. My personal maximum would have been $4 million, but I can see why the team would have wanted to get this deal done quickly. They needed to move on after the departure of Pujols.
At 34 years old, Furcal has played 370 of a possible 648 games (57%). He has injury question marks all over him. His glove is no longer gold glove quality, but it is his biggest upside. Injury has deteriorated his bat and he could very likely go into next season as the worst hitter in the lineup, though that’s more of a statement about the rest of the lineup than Furcal himself.
It’s an understandable move for the team who needed to initiate Plan B immediately.