Rafael Furcal drawing interest from “half dozen” teams

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Veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal hit .255/.316/.418 and launched seven home runs in 50 games after joining the Cardinals via a mid-summer trade.

He also upgraded St. Louis’ infield defense significantly while managing to stay healthy through the end of the Redbirds’ victorious World Series run.

Pleased with that performance, the St. Louis front office has expressed interest in retaining Furcal for the 2012 season. They even had discussions with him back in mid-August about re-upping. But it might not be such an easy or quick deal to work out.

According to beat writer Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Furcal has already drawn interest from a “half dozen teams” since he officially became a free agent late Wednesday night.

Furcal has expressed a desire to remain in St. Louis, where he just earned his first World Series ring, but, at the age of 34, he’s likely to chase the richest contract he can find. And it might not come from the Cards.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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