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Player Market: Rafael Furcal

There’s bound to be a lot of teams looking in to signing Rafael Furcal this winter. With several teams interested in shortstops and lead-off men, Furcal should have a huge market. Lets look at some interested parties.

Dodgers (frontrunners)  They want and need Furcal to return. Look at their record at the begining of the year with Furcal compared to without. He is their spark-plug, and I think he will be their number 1 offseason priority. Rafeal was stated that he would like to stay, as well.

Royals (frontrunners)  The Royals would love to add a Rafael Furcal type of player. They could move Matt Aviles to second base, something they want to do. Furcal would probably only require a 3 year deal, so Mike Moustakes will be coming up just when Rafael’s deal is ending. They add a speedy lead-off man to pair with David DeJesus at the top of that lineup. This team makes a lot of sense and the Royals will most likely be big players for Furcal.

Blue Jays (frontrunners)  The Blue Jays make a lot of sense for Furcal as well. They have been without a leadoff man for a long time, and their two shortstops, Marco Scutaro and John McDonald aren’t great options. They could be possible trade chips, however. This team is a great fit for Rafeal Furcal.

A’s (possible)  It is possible the Oakland A’s decide to go after a free agent or two for possible contention in 2010. They badly need a leadoff man, and even though they don’t need a shortstop they could still sign Furcal and then trade current shortstop Bobby Crosby. They haven’t had a good lead-off man in forever, and they now have the chance to get one if they shell out big bucks.

Cardinals (possible)  It seems as though the Cardinals are going to be spending a lot this offseason. They need pitching and middle infield help. The Cards have no speed in their lineup, and Furcal would add a ton. The Cardinals might want to devote their money towards starting pitching, however. 

Reds (possible)  The Reds need a shortstop and a lead-off man. So they are a natural fit for Furcal. They have many holes, however, and may decide to spread out their money like the Cardinals could possibly do. This might be smarter than using almost half of it in one place.

Twins (slim chance)  The Twins are sure to be interested, but don’t have that much money to spend. It may be smarter for them to target a shortstop via trade instead of free agency. Everyone wants pitching, and the Twins are one of the few teams with a surplus.

Braves (Dark Horse)  Wouldn’t it be crazy if Furcal signed back with his former team, the Braves. Yes, they have Yunel Escobar, but they could move him to second base. Yes, they have Kelly Johnson there, but he could be a trade candidate. The Braves haven’t had a good leadoff man since Rafeal was there, so why not just bring him back. They could then trade Johnson for a starting pitcher or a left fielder. This could work.

Offseason Plan: Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves, a huge disappointment last season, need to decide whether to rebuild or retool this offseason. I lean toward rebuild, but with Bobby Cox, they probably will try to retool. They have a few needs. They have to get a left fielder, center fielder, starting pitcher, and reliever. They might have to look to fix center field from within with Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson stopgaping untill one of the center field prospects are ready. Left field could be given to Brandon Jones, but they think he needs more time. They can sign a guy in the Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, Jaun Rivera teir. If they want to spend a lot they could sign Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. For pitching, I don’t think they have a chance at getting CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets, but could go after a solid #2 or #3. Jon Garland makes a lot of sense for this team. The bullpen also must be adressed. They should try hard to retain Will Ohman, although he should be tough to resign. If they decide to sell, Kelly Johnson, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafeal Soriano could be trade chips. Tim Hudson, also, when he returns from injury could be shopped at the trade deadline. So, the Braves could go either way, but they probably won’t be able to compete next year or build up a great farm system next year.