Rafael Furcal

Rafael Furcal and What Off-Season Interest Means

Earlier this week we heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates had shown interest in shortstop Rafael Furcal. On Saturday, we heard the same reports from Furcal himself, who told Enrique Rojas of ESPN that “many teams have shown interest”, and named the Pirates as one of those teams. So far, both reports have come from the Furcal camp, with the first report coming from his agent.

This seems like a good time to point out the many possibilities that come from the word “interest”. It’s a very vague term that gets thrown around during the off-season, when teams are checking on pretty much every single player. The truth is that most teams have “shown interest” in a lot of players they aren’t going to sign. That’s because “interest” could just mean checking on his price, seeing if the player is healthy, or considering him as a Plan B, Plan C, or for a role that would be less than what he’d get from other teams.

The best way to illustrate “interest” is to look at Furcal from the Mets’ perspective. Furcal specifically mentioned that the Mets were interested in him. However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the more the Mets researched Furcal, “the greater their worry about his physical viability became”. He said that one executive said Furcal is no longer an option for the Mets. Sherman also says that officials who don’t work for the Mets have had the same physical concerns.

The Mets obviously “showed interest”, because they were looking at Furcal. In this case, it seems that they were just looking to see if he was healthy, and when they didn’t like what they saw, they moved on.

I don’t know if the Pirates are in the same situation as the Mets, where they were just looking at him to get a feel for his health. What I do know is that “interest” usually comes with the assumption that a team is heavily pursuing a player, when in fact it could just mean that they were doing due diligence. When it comes to Furcal, or any other player who receives interest from any team, I don’t think we can take the word “interest” and start penciling in that player in the starting lineup. Finding out that a team has shown interest in a player tells us who the team is looking at. The more important information is finding out how the team feels about the player after their initial interest.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

First Pitch: Why I Trust Neal Huntington

Next Story »

Week In Review: Dickerson Trade Highlights a Quiet Holiday Week

  • elgaupo

    If Furcal would play 120 games at 2B, 3B and SS, Mercer would play 120 games at 2B, 3B and SS and Walker and Pedro would play 140 games at 2B and 3B respectively this infield would be so much better offensively.

  • jon6er

    Young guys can respond to missing a season. We might as well bring Inge back if we sign this guy.

  • https://profiles.google.com/113824087346904673399 NHPirateFan

    Pass. Would rather welcome Barmes back, Mercer starting SS v LHP and starting 2B v many LHP.
    So, much like a Barmes/Walker platoon, with a vastly improved infield D when facing a LHP. Would like to add a glove 1st RH 3B to rest Pedro v some LHP.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mike.perry.9041083 Mike Perry

    If aj doesn’t come back anybody thin bringing Bronson arroyo back might make sense?

    • Jared

      Please, no, on Arroyo.

      • Mr. Goodkat

        Locke > Arroyo

        No thanks.

  • IC Bob

    I like Furcal when healthy he has always been good. So if he is healthy (and I am sure the Bucs would check on that) I would love to have him. He would be a huge upgrade over Barmes.

    • Jared

      He would be a huge upgrade? He’s not better defensively…and he hasn’t put up good offensive numbers in a couple years…defensively the last two or three years he’s been a negative uzr player…a massive downgrade over the defense of Barmes.

  • Colin Cups

    you guys want to know what Furcal is? he’s a name. that’s it. he’s not the man in the Dodger uniform anymore. he’s worn out.

  • IC Bob

    He didn’t play last year. When healthy and that has been an issue he has been a great offensive player and an adequate defensive player. As for Barmes he is walking proof that UZR is an overrated stat. I am convinced he gets a high rating because he jumps in the air on ever ball hit to him. I have never seen a SS that makes every play look difficult like he does and he is by far the worst offensive SS in the league.

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    1 day ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    7 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles