The Miami Marlins just signed a free agent to replace one position, as Miami picked up catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a reasonable contract. Now the team has found itself a stopgap option for second base as well. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Miami has signed free agent infielder Rafael Furcal to a one-year deal with the intent of starting him at second base full-time in 2014.
Sources: #MARLINS agree with Rafael Furcal on one-year contract, pending physical. Plan is for Furcal to be everyday second baseman.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2013
Furcal was supposed to be the starting shortstop for the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, but the 35-year-old native of the Dominican Republic hurt his elbow before the season began and eventually required Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2013, which was the last season of a two-year deal with the Cardinals worth $14 million. Prior to that, in 2012, Furcal was inexplicably selected to be an All-Star for the third time in his career after starting the season with a .275/.337/.364 (.310 wOBA) batting line, only to have his bat fall apart in the second half. He finished the 2012 season having hit .264/.325/.346 (.296 wOBA) and putting up less than one win for the Cardinals.
Furcal has played both shortstop almost exclusively during his 13-year career, but he is unlikely to move the slick-fielding, 24-year-old Adeiny Hechavarria off the position. Furcal will be asked to play second base regularly for the first time since his rookie season, when he started 24 games at the position.
Contract details have not been released. Furcal lives in south Florida, which will make the transition to Miami fairly easy. The Fish probably are not expecting much from him, but Miami will see what they get from the 36-year-old in a full-time capacity.
Marlins fans, what do you think? Is Furcal worth a shot? Is he a better stopgap choice than the players they tried last year? Let us know in the comments!
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing: Marlins have payroll left to make other moves
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing: Marlins cover present, future with free agent signing
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing: Marlins make reasonable three-year deal
- Miami Marlins History: Reflecting on the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis trade
- This Day In Marlins History: Cabrera, Willis traded to Tigers