August 15, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal (15) fields a ground ball hit by Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Bucs have checked in on Rafael Furcal

As the Pittsburgh Pirates look to fine-tune a team that made the postseason last year, one thing that general manager Neal Huntington is finding out quickly is that this free-agent class is less than ideal for a team like the Pirates to do exactly that.

With that being said the Pirates have checked in on another aging veteran hoping for a rebound, this time in 36-year-old shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Aug 24, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal (15) turns a double play during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Just last week the Bucs showed some interest in Lance Berkman and according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have joined seven other clubs in reaching out to Furcal.

This is a case of simply doing their due diligence on looking at several options as I highly doubt they aggressively pursue Furcal, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Furcal posts a career a career .281/.346/.403 slash line but while he was somewhat effective in 2012 in St. Louis where he posted a .325 OBP, he really hasn’t put together a good offensive season since 2010 when he was in a Dodgers uniform. There’s also the health factor as Furcal has appeared in more than 138 games only twice since 2007.

With the lack of quality shortstops on the market it makes sense to check in on Furcal.

Stephen Drew is likely going to be out of the Pirates’ price range and Furcal and former Pirate Clint Barmes are the likely two best next options.

That being said, given the choice between the two I would rather have Barmes. He’s not going to bring much with the bat but with Barmes you know you are going to get a solid glove guy and good clubhouse veteran.

The weak market is also good news for Jordy Mercer who as of now is in place to be the Opening Day starter.

Whether the Bucs sign Furcal or re-sign Barmes it would be as a bench guy. Any upgrade would have to come via trade and that seems unlikely to happen at the moment.

Tags: Clint Barmes Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors Rafael Furcal

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