The St. Louis Cardinals sign Raphael Furcal to a two-year deal for a $14 million contract
- After being traded the Cardinals last season, Furcal was a major part of their playoff push. He contributed offensively and was a major upgrade defensively at shortstop over Ryan Theriot, who kicked more balls than Morten Anderson
- The Cardinals sign this new deal with Furcal upon finding increased financial flexibility after not signing a certain first baseman. Seems like a reasonable amount to spend on Furcal, if not a bit heavy.
- This move represents a decent incremental improvement for the Cardinals, as Furcal has always provided good value if healthy (big “if” here). Talented prospect SS Tyler Greene will now compete with Daniel Descalso for playing time at second base, and will fill in for Furcal if (when) he gets hurt.
- While the Furcal addition is a good one for the Cards, alone it certainly does not mitigate the loss of a previously-mentioned, but unnamed first baseman. The Cards still have work to do, and perhaps signing free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran could be an answer. Another option to increase value on the roster would be trading one of Kyle Lohse/Jake Westbrook, freeing a spot to sign free agent starter Roy Oswalt .
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun tests positive for a banned substance, earning a fifty game suspension
· While Braun was not signed or traded, technically, a suspension counts as a transaction.
· The response from Braun’s camp is that he did not test positive for a “performance enhancing drug,” but only a “banned substance.” Braun reportedly tested with increased levels of testosterone, so I’m not sure how whatever he was taking did not “enhance” his performance.
· So perhaps “beast mode” was really “laboratory mode.” Braun will appeal the suspension, but if his appeal fails, the Brewers will have to deal with being “pujolsed” (my new term for what happens when a team loses their best player) for the first part of the season. This would be difficult to overcome, especially after likely saying goodbye to the Purple Rain.