The Cardinals would like to bring Rafael Furcal back next year

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Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are very interested in retaining Rafael Furcal after the season ends.

Furcal, a free agent-to-be, hasn’t hit for average since coming over from the Dodgers, but he has played slick defense and has flashed nice power in his short time in St. Louis.  Given how poor the non-Pujols portions of the Cardinals infield has been this season, he would represent a considerable upgrade if brought back and if he’s healthy in 2012.  Of course Furcal being healthy is not the sort of thing one bets the farm on.

And it’s also worth noting that Furcal isn’t exactly the Cardinals’ number one free agent priority coming up after the season ends. They have a first baseman who’s pretty good and has probably earned himself a contract of some sort.

Report: Astros, Ryan Pressly close to agreement on two-year, $17.5 million extension

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.

Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.

Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.