The St. Louis Cardinals declined the options for shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel, an indication that the team is planning to go full 1997 Marlins on the baseball world. You’ve been warned, St. Louis.
Or maybe not. The Furcal option was for $12 million, which is about a 200% overpayment at least, and while the Cards have expressed an interest in bringing Furcal back, there was no way they were going to do it at that price. Still, while it looked like Furcal was almost certainly in the team’s long-term plans at the end of the season, he progressively got worse and worse as the playoffs went on, going from .227/.227/.409 in the NLDS, to .185/.214/.370 in the NCLS, to .179/.281/.214 in the World Series.
The more surprising move is with Dotel, whose option was for $3.5 million, but also had a $750,000 buyout. With that last part being a sunk cost, the Cardinals could have had an effective reliever for $2.75 million and a one-year deal. Dotel’s strikeout rate is one of the best-kept secrets in baseball -- it’s one of the best of all-time, actually -- and his walk rate went down in a small sample after joining the Cardinals. He was a reliable workhorse for St. Louis throughout the playoffs, allowing four runs in 10⅓ innings, and striking out 14 while walking two.