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Cards finalize deal for Furcal

Cards finalize deal for Furcal

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Rafael Furcal

Los Angeles Dodgers' Rafael Furcal (15) grounds out to first base during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

ST. LOUIS • The Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized a a deal that would will bring shortstop Rafael Furcal to St. Louis before Sunday's trade deadline.

According to a baseball source with knowledge of the two teams' conversations the deal was a "step away" from completion on Saturday afternoon. A source with the Cardinals said Saturday evening that the trade is "going to happen."

As a player with 10 years in the majors and at least five years with the same team, Furcal has the right to block any trade. While a source close to Furcal told The Post-Dispatch on Saturday morning that the shortstop would approve a trade the Cardinals, there is a mandatory 24-hour period the player is given to decide.

The Cardinals are likely to also receive cash in the deal, and they will be sending a minor-league outfielder who is not on the 40-man roster to the Dodgers.

Furcal is not in the Dodgers' lineup for tonight's home game with Arizona.

Trading Furcal would be a way to save cash for the Los Angeles Dodgers and play shortstop Dee Gordon.

Per usual diligence, the Cardinals would want to see Furcal's medical information before finalizing the deal.

A source with knowledge of Furcal's view told the Post-Dispatch on Saturday that the switch-hitting shortstop would be eager to join the Cardinals once the teams got the details of the trade completed later in the day.

Furcal's contract has a $12-million team option for 2012.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak declined comment on any pending deal after the game. He appeared with the Fox Sports national broadcast crew during the third inning of today's game and told Joe Buck that he was "working on it" in reference to a deal for Furcal.

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Here is the story published Friday night at StlToday.com:

ST. LOUIS • With less than two days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Cardinals have focused on acquiring a shortstop in a market an official with the team once described as thin on options at that position.

As part of their search for an upgrade at shortstop, the Cardinals have had ongoing discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers about switch-hitter Rafael Furcal, a baseball source confirmed to The Post-Dispatch.

On Friday afternoon, Post-Dispatch baseball writer Joe Strauss reported that shortstop had become a "priority" for the Cardinals and that momentum was building for another move before the deadline. Owner Bill DeWitt Jr. met at length with manager Tony La Russa at Busch Stadium this afternoon, Strauss confirmed. After making the eight-player deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, general manager John Mozeliak said the team was still in position to make another move if an attractive one became available. Mozeliak's policy is to not discuss specific players or targets.

Furcal had been mentioned as a potential fit by a club source before Wednesday's trade for pitcher Edwin Jackson and three others. Though a deal did not appear imminent, time is short before Sunday's non-waiver deadline.

Furcal has no-trade protection.

The San Diego Padres have had a scout present to watch the Cardinals this week, though they may find other teams willing to offer more for closer Heath Bell than the Cardinals can.

Solidifying the shortstop position has taken on more urgency with the team as Ryan Theriot's struggles at the plate persisted. Daniel Descalso has started regularly at short in the past week, and the team promoted Tyler Greene from Class AAA. Greene played shortstop late in Friday's game against the Cubs. Theriot took the field in the seventh inning at second base, the first time this season that he has played on the other side of the base.

Furcal, a switch-hitter, is struggling through career lows this season with a .195 batting average and a .241 slugging percentage in 36 games (133 at-bats). His production has picked up recently as he distances himself from an oblique strain and his second stint on the disabled list this season. Furcal, 33, is batting .310 during his previous eight games, and he has seven hits in his previous 18 at-bats over four games.

Furcal is owed approximately $4 million of his $12-million salary for the remainder of the season, and he does have a $12-million option for the 2012 season.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported this week that the Milwaukee Brewers were doing "background work" on Furcal and that Dodgers would trade either Furcal or utility infielder Jamey Carroll. The Brewers are in the market for a middle infielder after the injury to Rickie Weeks. ESPN.com reported that the San Francisco Giants had also checked in on Furcal.

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