Update: A source tells our own Craig Calcaterra that the Cardinals and Dodgers have agreed to the particulars in a Furcal deal and that Furcal is leaning toward waiving his no-trade protection to go to St. Louis.
The shortstop market is barren, but the Cardinals appear interested in taking a chance on the one big name out there; they’re discussing a deal with the Dodgers that could net them Rafael Furcal.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Furcal is open to waiving his no-trade protection and moving on to St. Louis. The Cardinals are giving usual shortstop Ryan Theriot his first start of the year at second base on Saturday, suggesting that they’re confident a deal is going to get done.
Furcal has had a brutal, injury-plagued season that’s left him with a .197/.272/.248 line in 137 at-bats. He’s 5-for-8 stealing bases, and he’s scored just 15 runs in 37 games.
Still, there’s hope that Furcal will improve if he stays healthy. And he has gone 8-for-22 over his last six games, raising his average 32 points. He certainly has the most upside of any shortstop available.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.