The Cardinals will finalize a two-year, $14-million deal with shortstop Rafael Furcal early next week.Defensively, resigning Furcal for two years is a great move. Offensively, he needs to work on getting on base once more.
The deal has been agreed upon pending a physical, the shortstop's agent Paul Kinze confirmed to The Post-Dispatch on Saturday afternoon.
Furcal, 34, returns to the team that acquired him at the July non-waiver trade deadline last season. Furcal solidified the team's defense with his play at shortstop, and he took over the leadoff role until struggling at the plate in the World Series. Furcal hit .255 with a .316 on-base percetnage and a .418 slugging percentage in 50 games with the Cardinals in 2011. He added seven homers and 29 runs scored as the team's everyday shortstop.
Asking who the face of the franchise is with Albert now an Angel is a really good question. My vote goes to Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright.
Derrick got the quotes that BJ was unable to provide the other day.
"I wouldn't say that I was shocked. I was sad," Holliday said. "But the cupboard isn't bare...It is going to be very different. But it's exciting. We've lost a Hall of Fame manager and one of the greatest players of all time in the same offseason, and a lot of organizations would be sent reeling by that. We're in pretty good shape. We have a team that can win."[...]Bernie gets a quote from Bob Costas on Pujols' decision.
Pujols took him through some of the things that happened on the way to his decision, and the two decided to try and get together before Pujols leaves St. Louis. Holliday kept a pulse on the Cardinals' pursuit of Pujols and said he remained "hopeful" through this week. Now he looks ahead to possibly being the team's first new No. 3 hitter in years and definitely being the focal point of the offense.
"We've got a big hole to fill," Holliday said. "That's going to take all of us to fill it. I think it feels different. It obviously feels that way now. It will be even more glaring when we get to spring training and look around and Tony's not there and Albert's not there. It's a new look. It's a new era in Cardinals baseball."
So what does the always fair-minded Bob Costas think about the Cardinals' offer to Pujols and our town's reaction to the defection? Costas offered his take Friday on the MLB Network. After explaining why the Angels and their owner Arte Moreno were in great financial position to take on the enormous Pujols contract, Costas said:
"The Cardinals made more than a fair offer, and they went about as far as their economics would allow. All of those things might have made sense for Arte Moreno to go to a number that the Cardinals couldn't reach. But the Cardinals certainly put out a fair number, which is why you won't find in St. Louis a lot of anger directed at the Cardinals. They're not saying the Cardinals screwed up. Their reaction is disappointment, sadness. And if there's any resentment at all, at least at this point it's directed at Albert Pujols. They believe their devotion to him, and their appreciation of him, in the end, was not reciprocated."