Rumors early in the MLB offseason indicate that the New York Mets are one of five or six teams that have been quick to show interest in veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal. It makes sense for the Mets to be exploring their options at shortstop so early in the offseason, but they should be able to do a lot better than Furcal.
Furcal missed the entire 2013 season because of Tommy John surgery, and he is now 36 years old, both of which are red flags to the Mets or any other team. At his age Furcal doesn’t have the range he used to have, and coming off the surgery there is no certainty that he’ll have the arm strength required at the shortstop position. Moreover, judging by his numbers from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he’s nothing too special with the bat anymore and doesn’t have the speed to be a catalyst at the top of the lineup the way he was in his younger days.
The Mets do need to find someone at shortstop, even if it’s just a one or two year stopgap until some of their top shortstop prospects get closer to the big leagues. However, they’d be better off sticking with Ruben Tejada and giving him another year to redeem himself than settling for Furcal. At best, Furcal is a backup middle infielder at this point in his career, not an everyday shortstop, and the Mets would be foolish to seriously consider him for either job.
It’s not surprising to hear that the Mets showed some interest in Furcal, and it’s somewhat telling of their priorities early in the offseason. However, whether they find a new shortstop in free agency or via trade or stick with Tejada for another year, the Mets can do far better at shortstop than Furcal.