Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports is reporting that the Dodgers have agreed on a deal to trade shortstop Rafael Furcal to St. Louis. The only thing remaining, according to Calcaterra, is for Furcal to waive his no-trade clause. Both Buster Olney of ESPN and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com have reported that a deal is close. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Furcal would not oppose a trade to St. Louis.
On one hand, it is amazing that Furcal has any trade value at all. He has spent two long stints on the disabled list this season, once with a broken thumb and once with an oblique strain. Furcal has missed 292 of the Dodgers' last 603 games, dating back to late 2007. Then again, there is always the hope and thought that when healthy, Furcal is a difference maker both at the plate and in the field. Of course, the caveat is that Furcal has rarely been healthy.
Over his last six games, Furcal is 8-for-22, hitting .364/.500/.500, with three doubles, three walks, and two stolen bases in three attempts. Apparently that was enough to show St. Louis that Furcal was healthy enough to make a difference down the stretch.
Former Dodger Ryan Theriot has started 85 of the Cardinals' 107 games at shortstop this season, and is hitting .268/.314/.330. Theriot started second base for St. Louis today.
Furcal is making $12 million this season, the final year of his second three-year deal with the Dodgers. With 60 days remaining in the season after today, the Cardinals would be on the hook for roughly $3,934,426 if they took on his remaining salary. Furcal also has a $12 million club option for next season that has a roughly zero percent chance of getting exercised.
This move opens the door for shortstop Dee Gordon to get more time at the big league level as he prepares for what will almost certainly be his job to lose in 2012. Gordon hit .232/.250/.280 in his first stint with the Dodgers earlier this season, but also provided some excitement in the field and on the bases. Gordon stole nine bases in 12 attempts in 22 games.
Furcal at the very least is in the discussion as the best shortstop in Los Angeles Dodgers history. In his six seasons with the Dodgers, Furcal hit .283/.351/.406 with a .336 wOBA, a 100 OPS+ and 104 wRC+ in 617 games. Furcal amassed 15.2 WAR with the Dodgers, per FanGraphs.