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Xander Bogaerts will start next year for the Red Sox, but the question remains whether it will be at shortstop at third base. We probably won’t have the answer to this question til Spring Training next year, but how to the Red Sox approach this offseason could help us make a guess.
It looks like Boston has seen the last of Stephen Drew, but another shortstop may be in their sights. Two days ago, 36-year-old Rafael Furcal told ESPNDeportes that he had interest from five to six teams, including the Red Sox.
Furcal has been an All-Star three times in his career and he won Rookie of the Year back in 2000 so there is no doubting that Furcal is an impact player. The only problem is that Furcal has had trouble staying healthy as of late. From 2000-07, Furcal surpassed 130 games in all but one season, but from 2008-13 he has done so just once and he missed the entire 2013 season with Tommy John surgery. Furcal has also expressed a desire to maximize his playing time so he clearly still views himself as an everyday player. If the Red Sox do want Furcal to come to Boston they should consider giving him a one-year incentive laden deal to minimize the risk.
If Furcal does come to Boston he may be suited for a super-utility role. Throughout his career he was primarily a shortstop, but he also has considerable second base experience. It would not be a stretch of the imagination that he may be able to learn third base as well. Furcal brings an interesting mix of speed with some doubles pop in his bat and could be a valuable assest starting three to four days a week. He also would bring valuable insurance if Middlebrooks does not bounce back like expected or there is an unfortunate injury to the left side of the infield.
Signing Furcal makes sense for the Red Sox, but only at the right cost. They should gauge his market, and if he is amiable to a one- to two-year deal, do not be surprised to see him at Fenway next season.