A week after the World Series is over it seems the list of free agents is nearly complete. There is one that I think the Twins should put a target on: Rafael Furcal.
Last season was nothing less than a disappointment for the speedy shortstop due to injuries. Although through 36 games, Furcal did bat .357 with 5 homeruns, 16 RBIs, and 8 stolen bases. This is certainly a small sample size, but Furcal proved his value to the Dodgers when he returned at the end of the year for a playoff run.
Through the first month of the season Furcal was the sparkplug at the top of LA's lineup getting on base and scoring runs. He brings a switch-hit bat to the top of any lineup and a very solid glove at shortstop.
If Furcal has any interest, I think he and the Twins have a mutual fit. Furcal would fill Minnesota's vacancy at shortstop and take over as the team's leadoff hitter.
Now I know many think the Twins already have Denard Span, but Furcal is a proven leadoff hitter for many years and would allow Span to slide to the two hole. Yeah I like Alexi Casilla as much as you, but he seemed to wear down at the end of the year and doesn't have a major league track record of production.
At the top of the lineup, Furcal and Span would be able to get on base, move runners over, and provide potential RBI for Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau behind them.
This would also allow young guys like Casilla and Carlos Gomez to hit eighth and ninth in the order. They could continue to develop and be productive speedsters at the bottom of the order with less pressure and more importantly less at bats. Furcal, Span, Casilla, and Gomez would wreak havoc on the bases for opposing teams and make Twins hitters like Mauer, Morneau, Delmon Young, and Jason Kubel lick their chops in the middle of the order.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that after a short meeting between Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and Furcal's agent that Furcal may have to test the open market after originally thinking he would simply stay put in Los Angeles.
Furcal could command up to a four-year deal if he hits the open market and given his injury history and age (31) this does present some risks, but the Twins have the money and if they're willing to take a risk I think it can pay off big.
All I ask is if the Twins are considering signing Orlando Cabrera for three years at $30 million they should wake up and recognize the better investment of Furcal at four years at $40-42 million. Bill Smith.... think about it!