|The Cardinals upgraded on their motley crew of shortstops by trading Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers for 33-year-old Rafael Furcal, a pending free agent in the midst of a career-worst season at the plate. Still, St. Louis prefers the steady defense that Furcal provides over the mixed bag offered by Ryan Theriot, Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso (who played just 12 games at short in the minors, all in high Class A).
The Dodgers included about $2.5 million in the deal to cover a large portion of Furcal’s remaining $4 million salary. Earlier in the week, St. Louis placed all its bets on this season, the last before Albert Pujols can file for free agency, when it dealt Colby Rasmus for Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel. The addition of Furcal bolsters them further for the final months ahead.
|Alex Castellanos, rf
Age: 24. Position: RF (73 G), CF (17 G).
Born: Aug. 4, 1986 in Miami.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 180. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Belmont Abbey (N.C.).
Career Transactions: Selected by Cardinals in 10th round of 2008 draft; signed June 9, 2008.
Castellanos was having a career year in Double-A (he ranks eighth in the Texas League in hitting, fifth in homers and fourth in runs scored), but he’ll turn 25 on Thursday and his tools don’t live up to his performance. He has some pop but he has a long swing and chases too many pitches out of the strike zone. His speed and defensive tools are fringy, and the former Belmont Abbey (N.C.) second baseman fits best in right field. Despite his 2011 numbers, he doesn’t have the bat to profile as a big league regular there. He signed for $70,000 as a 10th-round pick in 2008.
|Rafael Furcal, ss
Age: 33. Bats: B. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $4 million, of which Dodgers sent $2.5 million ($12 million salary for 2011, then $12 million club option for 2012).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.