Rafael Furcal announces his retirement after 14 seasons

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Three-time All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal has decided to retire at age 37 after injuries derailed numerous comeback attempts in recent years.

Furcal debuted for the Braves in 2000, winning the Rookie of the Year award, and spent the next decade as one of the league’s best all-around shortstops, but he last topped a .700 OPS in 2011 and has played a grand total of just nine games in the big leagues since 2013.

A switch-hitting, 5-foot-8 speedster with good on-base skills and a rocket arm, Furcal batted .281 with a .346 on-base percentage and .402 slugging percentage in 1,614 games, stealing 314 bases and smacking 113 home runs.

Among all MLB shortstops since 2000 he ranks fourth in Wins Above Replacement with 39.0, trailing only Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, and Miguel Tejada. He played 14 seasons for the Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Marlins, earning $97 million in salary and winning one World Series with St. Louis in 2011.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.