When we learned yesterday that Rafael Furcal had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the assumption was that he would undergo Tommy John surgery. That’s not the case. At least not yet.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Furcal will attempt to rehab the injury over the next 4-6 weeks. This timetable leaves open the possibility that he could return if he makes a quick recovery and the Cardinals have another long postseason run. However, the Cardinals will move ahead as if he will not be a factor until 2013. Of course, there’s the chance that the rehab doesn’t work and surgery is required. That scenario would push his return well into the 2013 season.
Furcal, 34, batted .264 with five homers, 12 steals, and a .671 OPS in 121 games this season and is under contract for $7 million next year. Daniel Descalso is expected to get most of the starts at shortstop down the stretch while the light-hitting Pete Kozma was called up from Triple-A Memphis yesterday to provide depth.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.