UPDATE: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears that the Cardinals and Furcal have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth around $14 million, pending a physical. Take that, Angels.
2:27 PM: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides are “finishing up” a two-year contract which is likely worth around $14 million. That’s a little steep for someone who has struggled to stay on the field in recent years.
1:01 PM: Jimmy Rollins is close to losing another potential suitor.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that the Cardinals are “making progress” on a deal with free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal. The 34-year-old is currently seeking a multi-year contract, but Alex Gonzalez’s deal with the Brewers this week may create a domino effect among the remaining free agent shortstops.
Furcal batted .231/.298/.348 with eight home runs, 28 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .646 OPS over 368 plate appearances this past season between the Dodgers and Cardinals. Though he struggled with the bat during the Cards’ postseason run, he managed to stay healthy and was a steady presence defensively.
Rollins was probably never a realistic option with St. Louis in the first place, but one wonders whether they’ll make a push for Carlos Beltran with some of their excess cash.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.
Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:
Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.
Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.
Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.
Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.