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.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.