While the starting nine for the Washington Nationals is pretty well set in stone, finding a veteran bench player that can spend some time on the bases defensively isn’t a bad idea. We’ve already discussed how Robinson Cano should be off the table, but what about Rafael Furcal?
According to ESPN.com, Furcal has listed the Nationals as one of many teams that have expressed interest in him. Furcal missed the 2013 season after tearing a ligament in his right (throwing) elbow, but the 36-year old infielder has a lot of experience on winning ball clubs and would bring a solid bat off the bench.
Pinch hitting is something that Mike Rizzo himself has put on the offseason wish list. While the team did acquire Scott Hairston from the Chicago Cubs in 2013, there weren’t very many options on the bench for Davey Johnson and there aren’t many options available for Matt Williams, either. However, Furcal is someone that could fill that role. In 2012, Furcal hit .264 with a .325 on-base percentage with 49 RBI and 18 doubles.
Furcal would also bring some added depth to the infield. While he’s primarily a shortstop with just 36 of 1,605 career games not played in the No. 6 position, he wouldn’t be asked to become a full-time player anywhere else on the diamond. Furcal would only be asked to play a game or two here and there on the diamond every now and then.
Furthermore, he’s played for numerous World Series contenders with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals are a young team, and having a player that has done what they are trying to do would only aid in accomplishing that. Adding some veteran leadership to the clubhouse would help them turnaround from their underachieving 2013 campaign.
While signing Rafael Furcal isn’t a move that’s been talked about it’s one that should be weighed by the Nationals. He may be in his final years in MLB, but he still has some solid years left in him. In 2013, he made $7 million with the Cardinals while sitting on the bench. If Washington can manage to snag him at a much cheaper price, he would be a solid addition.