This is the time of year to keep an open mind. Over the course of the MLB off-season, names get bandied about and rumors get thrown around. Some are far-fetched, some are serious, some stoke debate, and some just make you plain confused. The mention of the Colorado Rockies and veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal would fall in that final category.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com has a report about the New York Mets and their waning interest in Furcal. In that report you will find this kernel:
…the Mets are expressing interest in Rafael Furcal, the free-agent shortstop told Enrique Rojas at ESPNDeportes.com.
‘Many teams have shown interest,’ Furcal told Rojas in Spanish. ‘Boston, the Marlins, Mets, Washington, Pirates and Colorado are interested, among others.’
Of course it seems crazy for a team that already has Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop. First of all, there isn’t a need there. Second of all, Furcal might be the only shortstop who is more injury-prone than our beloved Tulo. But then comes this quote from Furcal:
“At my age, if I have health, I can play regularly… I am a natural second baseman. If I have to move around to various positions in order to play for a contender, I would do it.”
Second base, you say? That’s at least interesting to consider, right?
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Furcal’s most famous asset (a strong throwing arm) has become something of an unknown. Playing him at second base would account for that, and he would probably be a plus defender there after playing shortstop for most of his career. He can still be a productive offensive player; in 2012 he batted .264/.325/.671 in 121 games with five home runs and 49 RBI. More than a year removed from playing a Major League game, would the Rockies be willing to take a risk that he’s got something left? Should they be?
The answer is no; even though the Rockies have shown a willingness to add players with injury histories (looking at you, Justin Morneau), Furcal is simply too risky. You risk that he can play enough games to matter, and then you risk that he’ll have anything left at age 36 after spending a year rehabbing. Besides, a very reasonable case can be made that Colorado should be comfortable proceeding with DJ LeMahieu at that spot.
Also, Furcal is dead-set on playing for a contender. So, yea…
He isn’t a fit in Colorado, but darn it if it’s not interesting to think about.