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.
On Monday, Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil was placed on the 10-day injured list due to Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Cecil, who notably lost 42 pounds since the end of the 2018 season, was having trouble with his mechanics throughout spring training and only logged two official Grapefruit League innings.
Cecil, 32, is entering the third year of his four-year, $30.5 million contract. He struggled last year, finishing with a 6.89 ERA and a 19/25 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. The lefty dealt with shoulder and foot injuries during the season as well.
The Cardinals bolstered the bullpen in December, signing lefty Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million deal. It would be nice to have a healthy and effective Cecil, but the high-leverage workload will be managed by Miller and Jordan Hicks as well as Alex Reyes.
Cecil was among a handful of Cardinals to hit the injured list on Monday, joining Carlos Martínez (right shoulder cuff strain), Jedd Gyorko (right calf strain), Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement), and Justin Williams (right hand second metacarpal fracture).