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Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The rumors keep on swirling around the Pittsburgh Pirates and their interest in potential players to fill the gaps they have in their starting lineup.  As we commented on last week, there were reports that Ramon Santiago was of interest to Pittsburgh, as well as Clint Barmes, whom Clint Hurdle coached in Colorado.  These are certainly still possibilities, but today, another name has arisen in the Pirates’ interest in regards to shortstop.
John Heyman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Bucs are looking at Rafael Furcal.  Obviously, with the manner in which this is phrased, we can’t be sure if this is a realistic examination of the possibility of Furcal actually coming to Pittsburgh.  But it has been made apparent, by the Pirates as well as the media, that the club is looking at all options at shortstop, with the exception of Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins.  For those fans who may disagree with this, there is zero chance of either one of those two players coming to Pittsburgh.  WAY too much money and plus, these guys want to win now and they’re used to big markets….not possible in Pittsburgh.  Let’s move on.
After Rollins and Reyes, though, Furcal is the next biggest shortstop available.  His age is certainly a concern (34), as his is health.  In fact, he’s played just 97 and 87 games in 2010 and 2011, and the odds that injuries increase with age is not on the Pirates’ side.  Plus, he’s looking for a multi-year deal and will want more money than the Pirates will be happy to offer (big surprise).  He made $12 million in 2011 as part of a three-year deal that was signed following his career year in 2008.  Rumors and speculations offer that he is looking to receive anywhere from $4 million to $7 million a year. 
That being said, he would be a huge offensive improvement in comparison to what the Pirates have grown accustomed to in the past.  Age will be a factor if the Bucs sign any of the above-mentioned players, as Barmes, Santiago, and Furcal are 32, 32, and 34 years of age respectively.  Santiago is clearly a defensive-minded shortstop, while Furcal is much better with the bat than the glove.  The possibilities of a strong season on both sides of the ball are with Furcal, who has the potential to be a great addition to the Pirates’ lineup.  There is one word, though, that absolutely does not accurately define Furcal, and that’s consistent. 
It doesn’t seem as though any of these moves will impress us fans, but we have to be realistic.  The Pirates CANNOT and WILL NOT acquire Reyes or Rollins, and that being said, they have to look at the second tier of shortstops.  These guys are that next level down.  The other option is Ronny Cedeno, whom hasn’t exactly been snatched up by any other teams.  If he’s not offered any good deals, Cedeno will be more than likely willing to re-negotiate and sign on with the Bucs for a lesser amount.  The fact that Hurdle doesn’t like Cedeno does play a role, though, and it does seem as though it’s time for a change.
It seems more like the Bucs to get Barmes or Santiago, and when considering the options and alternatives, this isn’t that bad of a deal.
Stay tuned to Fans From The Stands, as we’ll be reacting to the latest news and rumors surrounding the Pirates’ shortstop situation and more throughout the entire offseason.
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!