It’s very easy to complain – as I have – about the way Rafael Furcal’s situation was handled. That point is moot. Whether he agreed to have surgery in September or not, Furcal wasn’t going to be available to the Cardinals until mid-May anyway. And it now appears he had no interest in having surgery.
The Cardinals had to know the chances of having a healthy Furcal were slim. And they didn’t do enough to procure a solid replacement during the offseason.
Where do they go from here? Unfortunately, they’re stuck. In an amazing bit of irony, the only positions the Cardinals don’t have a top-notch, major league-ready replacement are catcher and shortstop. They have a third baseman in Matt Carpenter, a second baseman in Kolten Wong, a first baseman in Matt Adams, plenty of pitchers and a stud outfielder in Oscar Taveras.
Based on six years of poor minor league play, I don’t think Pete Kozma is the answer. Based on six weeks of good play last fall, the Cardinals think he is. Furcal is now gone. We might as well call him a former Cardinal. For the first time in his career as a general manager, John Mozeliak is under intense scrutiny to see how he responds to an emergency situation. And sadly, if he had simply gotten his guy during the offseason when more substantial alternatives were available, the spotlight wouldn’t be so intense.