MLB Traderumors.com pointed out that Rafeal Furcal would be a free agent this offseason. The website seems to think that Furcal will get 5 years and 75 million dollars. He lists the Cardinals as a team that might take a look at the shortstop if he hits the open market(apparently the dodgers are interested in extending him).
I think the Cardinals have to at least take a look at Furcal. I realize that is a ton of money to a 31 year old, but he would satisfy a few needs for the Cardinals.
Leadoff hitter: Granted, Skip has done a solid job this year, but can you imagine Furcal's speed at the top of the lineup? If LaRussa ever did decide to actually run a little, Furcal could bring a new element to this lineup. This would also allow Rasmus to bat #2 or even down in the order so all of the pressure of the leadoff spot won't be on our young outfielder.
Quality shortstop: Furcal is a plus defender with a huge arm. Defense up the middle is key to Cardinals pitching success, with LaDuncan preaching pitching to contact
The Bridge to Kozmaville: Pete Kozma has been playing lights out in A- ball, but he is at least 3 years away, probably more like 4-5. Signing Furcal would bridge the gap so we don't have to sign one year stopgaps like Izturis over the next few years.
Furcal is going to want a max contract, so he could very well be priced out of the Cardinals range. But I think that we have to take a look at him this offseason if he is available. He would just serve so many purposes for a team that has a real legit chance of being good next year if everyone progresses as expected(Rasmus, Perez, Motte) and gets healthy(Carpenter).