After missing all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery Rafael Furcal signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Marlins, but his comeback has hit an immediate snag.
Furcal hasn’t played since March 15 because of a strained hamstring, so he’ll begin the season on the disabled list and either Jeff Baker or Derek Dietrich will start at second base.
Even before the elbow injury Furcal wasn’t much good for the Cardinals in 2012, hitting just .264 with five homers, 12 steals, and a .671 OPS in 121 games. He was even worse in 2011 and is now 36 years old playing a position here’s rarely played, so even if Furcal can recovery quickly from the hamstring injury he’s hardly a good bet to be a productive regular in Miami.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.