The regular season hasn’t even started yet, but St. Louis Cardinals are already worried about the prospect of losing one of their most important players. Rafael Furcal suffered an injury in his throwing elbow and his condition worsened over time, which kept him on the bench for consecutive games. So far, the shortstop has only missed spring training games, but if his condition doesn’t improve quickly there is a good reason to expect him to miss the April games.
While this might sound like a terrible scenario, it is not the worst case one, and the medics are reserved about his chances to recover. The pain didn’t diminish after various treatments and unless a miracle happens in the next couple of weeks, Furcal might be up for elbow surgery. The Cardinals missed out on numerous opportunities of improving their shortstop rotation, because they thought that Rafael will rebound in time. If that would’ve happened and St. Louis would have acquired new players for the same position, that would’ve led to a jam and the recently acquired shortstop would’ve been kept on the bench.
Now that the prospect of having him fit to play is fading, the manager has to consider three infielders and shortstops from Cleveland and Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. He is not only the best player, but also the most expensive one and with the Rockies trying to alleviate the financial pressure Troy might be traded. As for Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera, many consider that purchasing him would not be a good idea as he gained weight and underperformed.
St Louis is running out of choices and although none of the alternatives are extraordinary, they simply can’t afford to postpone the acquisition indefinitely. Cleveland is not going to settle for an average season in 2013 and as they try to secure a playoffs berth, they will have to pay extra attention to free agents. Some assume that the Cardinals might get their shortstop from the Rangers, but the Texans have repeatedly dismissed rumors about their intention of selling top prospects Andrus and Jurickson Profar.
Even if the Cardinals find a couple of players that meet their expectations and would fit nicely in their rotation, they would still have to trade some players. Right now there are very few who hold any appeal and one of them is Matt Carpenter, who would easily find a place in Colorado. St Louis can’t afford to trade their own prospects and jeopardize future seasons, although there is a pressing matter that needs to be resolved. Filling critical defensive positions is the number one priority, but they can’t lose focus of the bigger picture and patch things up no matter the costs.