We heard yesterday that Rafael Furcal was scheduled to undergo an MRI in order to gauge his progress from a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow. The results are in.
According to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on “Inside Pitch” this afternoon that Furcal’s MRI showed that the ligament in his elbow is completely healed. The expectation right now is that he’ll be 100 percent for spring training.
The Cardinals were mentioned as a potential suitor for Indians’ shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but the good news on Furcal means that they will likely turn their attention to other matters. With that in mind, Mozeliak also mentioned on today’s show that he will be in the market for a left-handed reliever and a veteran bat off the bench.
Furcal, 35, batted .264/.325/.346 with five home runs, 49 RBI and a .671 OPS in 121 games with the Cardinals this season. He is owed $7 million in 2013 and can become a free agent next winter.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.