It’s Official: Rafael Furcal traded to the Cardinals

The Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized a a deal that would will bring shortstop Rafael Furcal to St. Louis before Sunday’s trade deadline.
The Cardinals are likely to also receive cash in the deal, and they will be sending a minor-league outfielder who is not on the 40-man roster to the Dodgers.

Furcal should join the team by Sunday afternoon to play in Sunday Night’s game against the Cubs. I kinda like this deal. It didn’t take much to get him. Most of the year he has been hurt and his numbers are down. Furcal has the speed we need and his batting average has been better lately. He is an upgrade over Theriot. This move may move Theriot over to second base.

source: Derrick Goold
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Cardinals Getting Close in Deal for Furcal

The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were in serious negotiations Saturday on a trade that would send shortstop Rafael Furcal and cash to St. Louis, according to a source close to the situation.

The Cardinals have been looking to upgrade at shortstop for some time, and the Dodgers have been listening to offers to move either Furcal or Jamey Carroll to give shortstop prospect Dee Gordon an opportunity to play in the final two months of the season.
Because Furcal is a 10-year veteran who has spent more than five years with the Dodgers, he has to approve the trade before the deal becomes final. The Dodgers are expected to eat a significant portion of money still owed to Furcal, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney.
Furcal told ESPNdeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas by phone that he is inclined to approve any trade to a contender.
“As of right now, on the way to the stadium, nothing has happened yet,” Furcal said. “Neither the Dodgers nor my agent have told me anything about a trade.
“The only thing I know is that several teams are interested and that I must approve any trade. I’m waiting to see if something happens, but if nothing happens, I’ll be happy just as well to complete my contract with the Dodgers.”
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said there are a handful of issues still to be worked out, including Furcal approving the deal. As far as the players coming back, he said, “We’ve got a pretty good feel for it, but again, we’re not done.
“If Furcal is moved, we obviously will bring up Dee Gordon.”
Furcal’s departure would mean the Dodgers will keep Carroll for his leadership and versatility, and make Gordon the every-day shortstop. The 33-year-old Furcal, who has battled injuries much of the last two years, would get an opportunity to take over at short for the Cardinals, who would likely use their current shortstop, Ryan Theriot, as a utility man if Furcal can stay healthy.
Colletti said that Furcal has had a great impact on the club over the last six years.
“He was really the first free agent we went after,” he said. “We signed him at the winter meetings in ’05, and we needed somebody who could lead off and play in the middle of the diamond and play with energy, and he always did.
“He had some rough spots with injuries from time to time, but when he is at the top of his game and healthy … that was when the offense moved. He had quite an impact on this club, and he will always be a special guy for us.”

Source: Jayson Stark, ESPN MLB

Pujols gets 2,000th career Hit

So here I was sitting at home enjoying the Cardinals beating the Cubs. Impressed with Edwin Jackson’s pitching. My mind wanders and I begin to wish I was at the game, it was until the 8th inning that Albert Pujols hits a double off of Carlos Marmol and drives in a run for his 2000th career hit. Pujols become the fifth Cardinal to get over 2000th hits. He joins such Cardinal stars like Stan Musial (3,630), Lou Brock (2,713), Rogers Hornsby (2,110) and Enos Slaughter (2,063).

Current major league players with 2000 career hits include:

Derek Jeter: 3018
Ivan Rodriguez: 2842
Omar Vizquel: 2834
Alex Rodriguez: 2762
Johnny Damon: 2678
Chipper Jones: 2567
Vlad Guerrero: 2518
Ichiro Suzuki: 2361
Miquel Tejeda: 2358
Bobby Abreu: 2351
Todd Helton: 2334
Edgar Renteria: 2292
Jim Thome: 2249
Jason Kendall: 2195
Magglio Ordonez: 2122
Carlos Lee: 2076
Orlando Cabrera: 2027
Scott Rolen: 2005

I am glad I was able to experience this on television. Pujols is a gamer and will become part of Cardinal lore for years to come. Congrats Albert Pujols

source: AP

Cardinals Closing in on a Shortstop

Well it looks like the Cardinals are not done trading yet. It was reported earlier that they are still going after Heath Bell, but it appears the Rangers are closing in on the Heath Bell sweep stakes. Since Ryan Theriot is slumping and happens to have the worse defensive numbers in major league baseball, the Cards are talking to the Dodgers about Rafeal Furcal. According to Joe Strauss, the Cardinals are pursing a short stop that’s a difference maker. He also reports it is more than likely a trade will be done by deadline. What kind of short stop difference makers are out there? Jose Reyes? I thought Jose was untouchable. Hanley Ramirez? I thought he was the Marlins leader and a franchise player. I would love to have Ramirez but I think the Cards will go after Furcal not unless they will try for a bigger difference maker.

Source: MLB and Joe Strauss

Could LaRussa become the Whitesox Manager next Year?

This is a must read article written by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. This is a great read and some food for thought.

Turning up the heat.

It’s usually not what you want to do in the middle of a Midwest summer. But that’s exactly what the Cardinals have done.

By trading the occasionally electrifying Colby Rasmus in a short-sighted move that brought them Edwin Jackson, they have turned up the volume on an already pressurized situation. And they may have quietly telegraphed the end of the Tony La Russa era in St. Louis.

La Russa’s close friendship with White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf long has suggested they will work together again in the future. The Sox’s curious handling of the Jackson trade suggests this reunion could begin in 2012, assuming Ozzie Guillen gets money-whipped to jump to the Marlins after this season.

Rasmus is exactly the kind of young, (potentially) rising star the Sox have not been able to develop for themselves during the Ken Williams era. He was only made available, or so La Russa hinted on the eve of the trade, because he turned to his father/high school coach rather than sticking to the Cardinals’ program.

(Tony Rasmus vehemently denied the charge, saying La Russa had only his son to deal for much-needed pitching.)

But why didn’t the Cardinals just do a trade with the White Sox? Why not use Rasmus to get Jackson? Why turn this into a three-team combination of trades that left Rasmus in Toronto?

The White Sox would have cleared salary by doing Jackson for Rasmus more or less straight up, as the 24-year-old center fielder is earning only $443,000 this season. Sure, other players were involved, notably reliever Jason Frasor, but Rasmus is the big fish here, and the White Sox allowed somebody else to catch him, almost like they were guides rather than fishermen.

The Cardinals also got pitching depth to go along with Jackson (relievers Mark Rzepcyznski and Octavio Dotel from the Blue Jays) but the Sox continue to shop Matt Thornton so they could have put some pitching next to Jackson without waving a white flag for 2011.

It doesn’t look like the Sox really wanted Rasmus, and there are only a few answers for that: They believe he’s over-rated, a tease who promises more than he can deliver. They think improving the bullpen is more important than adding to a lineup that ranks 11th in the American League in scoring. They are keeping the coast clear for La Russa to arrive next winter, after his work is done in St. Louis.

La Russa almost walked away from the Cardinals after the last two seasons, hoping for one more trip to the World Series behind Albert Pujols.

Both La Russa and Pujols will be free agents after the season, along with Jackson. The Cardinals have mortgaged at least some of their future with three years of moves La Russa’s will influenced as much as general manager John Mozeliak‘s judgment. If they don’t re-sign Pujols, everything could change/.

“This is a window to win,” Mozeliak said when he announced the trade. “… Today we feel like we’re a better team than we were yesterday.”

But are they good enough to outlast the Brewers, who gave up four runs in three games to sweep the Cubs?

The National League Central leadership has been a changing proposition throughout July, with the lead bouncing back and forth between the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates. The Brewers probably are the favorite even after the Jackson trade.

It’s probably easier to forecast what happens after this season than during it.

The Marlins want Guillen, and Guillen wants to be one of baseball’s most highly paid managers (why wouldn’t he?). La Russa wants to keep working in baseball and isn’t looking to start over with a new ownership group. There is no Guillen heir apparent in place, as bench coach Joey Cora probably would follow him to Florida.

Oh, one other thing.

Joe McEwing, the White Sox’s 38-year-old Triple-A manager, is considered a top managerial prospect. He started his career playing for La Russa in 1998 and ’99, and La Russa remains a huge supporter. He probably will be a big-league coach next year, most likely La Russa’s bench coach. In Chicago.

A move to the White Sox would allow La Russa to retire as baseball’s second-winningest manager all time (he can’t catch Connie Mack but he’s currently third, only 70 behind John McGraw), and after a couple of years he could turn his U.S. Cellular Field office over to McEwing, moving upstairs to become team president.

Then again, maybe La Russa’s Cardinals will meet Guillen’s White Sox in the World Series, thanks to clutch pitching by Jackson and Frasor. It’s a crazy world, isn’t it?

Hideki Irabu Found Dead

Former major league pitcher Hideki Irabu has been found dead near Los Angeles, according to the Kyodo News. Police are investigating the death as a possible suicide. Irabu was 42 years old.
Irabu was a star with the Lotte Orions (now the Chiba Lotte Marines) in Japan before making the jump to Major League Baseball in 1997. He spent three years with the New York Yankees, winning the World Series in 1997 and 1998, but fell out of favour with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Disgusted at Irabu’s weight, Steinbrenner famously called Irabu a fat toad.
Irabu joined the Montreal Expos in 2000 and spent his final year in the big leagues with the Texas Rangers. He has run into legal problems since retiring after the 2002 season — he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a bar manager in 2008 and for driving under the influence in 2010.

Source: National Post

Cardinals Searching for a Short Stop

This morning Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Cardinals are looking for middle infield help. I thought to myself, who is out there that could help the Cardinals at this position? I then saw this by ESPN’s Buster Olney, “several teams are showing interest in Dodgers infielder Rafael Furcal”. The Dodgers would have to eat part of what they owe him $4.8 million to be able to trade him. Rafael is having a horrible year but he could help the Cardinals defensively. He would make a lot of sense for the Cardinals. He can be had at a cheap price. At this time there is no direct connection between Furcal and the Cards but I wouldn’t be surprise if the Cardinals make a move for him.