Just hours before the 1pm deadline on Sunday, Rafael Furcal approved a no-clause trade that sends him to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Minor League Outfielder Alex Castellanos.
The clock was ticking on Saturday afternoon and the Dodgers had yet to confirm any trades. During batting practice there were rumors floating around the ball park that Furcal was on the block to be traded to the Cardinals. Hours later there were whispers in the press box at Dodgers Stadium that the Furcal deal had been finalized.
Luckily, I was able to catch up with Furcal before the game in the clubhouse as he addressed the trade gossip with reporters. “If the Dodgers would like to trade me, I’m going to be professional about it,” Furcal said.
This trade will also be beneficial to the Dodgers payroll books as Furcal was set to earn $12 million this year. With less than 60 days left on the schedule to play baseball, the Cardinals will foot the remainder of his salary, an estimated $3.9 million. Ouch.
My source informed me that Furcal left the building around the fifth inning, giving him no time to say goodbye to his former teammates. After the game, Furcal’s locker was a ghost town, with the exception of two non-factor items that were left behind.
Furcal has proved to be one of the best shortstops to ever put on a Dodgers uniform. His stat sheet with the Dodgers is very attractive. In his last six seasons with the team, he has hit .232/.250/.280 with a .336 wOBA, and a total of 44 home runs in 617 games. But this season was sluggish for the 10-year veteran. He couldn’t stay healthy and batted his career-worst at .196 in 37 games.
Furcal made his debut with the Cardinals as a pinch-hitter on Sunday. On Monday, he made his first start as the leadoff hitter in front of over 30,000 Cardinal fans.
The Dodgers has called Dee Gordon up from the minors to replace Furcal at shortstop. Gordon will more than likely be the starting candidate for the job in 2012.
Albuquerque Isotopes Trayvon Robinson, a Los Angeles native and Crenshaw High School alumni, was also shipped out of Los Angeles in a three-team trade that sent minor leaguers Ron Rodriguez, Tim Federowicz and Stephen Fife to the Dodgers. Robinson was traded to the Boston Red Sox, who immediately handed over his rights to the Seattle Mariners. Robinson was having a stellar performance in the minors for the Isotopes, batting .293 with a career-high 26 home runs and leading the team with 71 RBIs.
Where will the Dodgers go from here? Well it looks like they are trying to put a team together for the future. It will be very interesting to see the outcome of the organization’s next season. It sure looks like Dodgers owner Frank McCourt won’t be surrendering his ownership of the team anytime soon.