Rafael Furcal is scorching hot for the Cardinals

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St. Louis got swept by at home by the Braves over the weekend, but it certainly wasn’t the shortstop’s fault. Rafael Furcal went 7-for-11 with two walks against his original team and is a ridiculous 15-for-21 over his last five games.

The stretch has him batting .383/.447/.519 for the season. Baseball-reference’s WAR rates him the game’s second most valuable offensive player so far behind Josh Hamilton and ahead of Matt Kemp.

All of this comes from a guy who looked pretty much done last October. He followed up a weak .231/.298/.348 regular season by hitting .195/.244/.325 in 18 games during the postseason. He also struggled so much this spring that the Cardinals started hitting him at the bottom of the order in the second half of March to see if anyone else could step up and claim the leadoff spot.

No one did, of course, and now Furcal has been a terror through one-fifth of the regular season.  He’s walked more than he’s struck out (15-14), and he’s seven for eight stealing bases, putting him on pace for his best season in that department since 2006.  With another big game tonight, he’d become the first player this season to have multiple hits in six straight contests.

Diamondbacks say they’re not rebuilding

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Despite losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, then trading Jean Segura to the Phillies and Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks insist they’re not entering a rebuilding mode, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Most likely, this is just the D-Backs saving face publicly given how much contention there has been between ownership and the players’ union over teams aggressively not competing. The D-Backs aren’t expected to be in the running for any of the bigger-name free agents, so it’s going to be very tough to replace the production lost from Corbin, Pollock, Segura, and Goldschmidt. The smart money is still on expecting the D-Backs to continue trading away players like Robbie Ray and David Peralta. Greinke might stay, but only because of his contract, which still has three years and $95.5 million remaining.