The St. Louis Cardinals tried very hard not to sign a league-average shortstop that could back up injury-prone Rafael Furcal. They didn't sign Hiroyuki Nakajima; they didn't sign Stephen Drew; for a change of pace, they did sign Ronny Cedeño. Now that we've reached Spring Training 2013, here's what Rafael Furcal has to say about how he feels:
"I can throw all day long, but when I do some throwing, I feel it a little bit behind (in the biceps area) not where it used to be. Not sharp pain, like it used to be. Just a little bit."
That bit of perverse almost-optimism coming at you via Rick Hummel. Rafael Furcal's elbow only hurts a little bit, and only when he throws a baseball, say, from shortstop to first base. In fairness, the rest of the article is far more typical Spring Training optimism, but I wasn't expecting to hear about aches and pains until at least March.
If you're getting deja vu, and you don't feel terrible about it, it could be because the last time the Cardinals were this inexplicably benign about an aging middle infielder with a shredded throwing arm it was Tony Womack, who earned 3.0 of his career 0.5 rWAR as their starting second baseman in 2004.
I'm not really willing to rely on a Tony Womack bounce, but consider the possibilities: Furcal has already accrued 37.6 rWAR in his career. A 220 rWAR season would really put the Cardinals in a good position for 2013.