Rafael Furcal heading back to Braves

According to FOX Sports.com, the Atlanta Braves reached an agreement with shortstop Rafael Furcal on a three-year contract.

In a stunning turnaround, the free-agent shortstop has chosen the Braves over the A’s, according to a major-league source.

A contract agreement is expected to be announced Tuesday, conditional on Furcal passing a physical.

Furcal would play shortstop or second base for the Braves, depending upon which other moves the team makes.

“They’re in deep,” Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told FOXSports.com on Monday night, before a decision had been reached. “He’s seriously considering it.”

The A’s are believed to have made the high offer for Furcal — four years in the $40 million range, according to major-league sources.

The Braves, however, made a late, rapid push for Furcal, and their offer was believed to be for three years with a vesting option for a fourth season.

Furcal, who owns homes in Atlanta and Los Angeles, preferred to rejoin the Braves or stay with the Dodgers, sources said.

One rival executive said Monday night, “He will do whatever he can not to go to Oakland,” citing

Furcal’s preference to be with one of his prior teams.

Interesting. Just a few days ago it looked like Furcal was definitely on his way to Oakland but sometimes you can’t put a price tag on comfort.

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Dodgers offer Furcal 2-year deal to stay

The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially offered shortstop Rafael Furcal an incentive-laden two-year contract. Furcal, however, is seeking a four-year deal.

Rafael FurcalThe Dodgers have offered the 31-year-old shortstop an incentive-laden contract that is guaranteed for two years and includes a vesting option for a third, according to sources familiar with the negotiations who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter. Furcal is asking for a four-year deal.

Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said Wednesday that the Dodgers are one of four finalists to sign his client. Kinzer said the other three — Oakland, Toronto and Kansas City — also have offers on the table and that Oakland’s is for four years.

Kinzer says he expects Furcal to be signed by Christmas.

Furcal can guarantee the third year of the contract with the Dodgers by accumulating a certain number of at-bats in the first two years, sources said.

Considering Furcal is coming off an injury-riddled season, the Dodgers were wise to protect themselves with an incentive-laden deal. This is the second time L.A. has offered a quality free agent just a two-year deal (the first was Manny Ramirez), which again, is smart. They might not land either player because other teams will come to the table with more years, but at least they’re trying to protect themselves from getting burned on ridiculous guaranteed contracts that could kill their spending in the future.

A’s talking to Rafael Furcal – Giants a better fit?

Free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal is heading to Oakland to talk contract with the A’s according to the MLB.com.

Possibly demonstrating that he’s in the final stages of his decision-making process, Furcal, widely considered the top shortstop available in free agency, traveled to Oakland to meet with A’s officials. Accompanied by his wife, Glenny, and his agent, Paul Kinzer, Furcal stopped at the Oakland Coliseum, drove through neighborhoods where he might live and had lunch with A’s general manager Billy Beane.

Kinzer confirmed Furcal’s trip, which was initially reported by FoxSports.com.

“We just wanted to look around and see how [Furcal] felt about the area before he went further,” Kinzer told MLB.com. “He did like it, and he was fine with the area.”

Furcal, who’s coming off a three-year, $39 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is reportedly seeking a four-year contract. Kinzer was staying in the Bay Area overnight, indicating that he could conduct face-to-face negotiations with the A’s on Wednesday.

Furcal, 31, appeared in only 36 regular-season games last season due to a lower back injury. But that indirectly increased his free-agency value, since he didn’t play enough to qualify for the Elias Sports Bureau rankings and thus won’t cost the team that signs him a selection in next June’s First-Year Player Draft.

I might be naive, but I believe Furcal still has a lot to offer at this stage of his career. Injuries have sidetracked an otherwise bright future, but I think he knows this is it for him. He’s not going to land another big contact again and he knows he has to perform. I don’t know if heading to the AL is such a wise move, however. The Giants are also interested, and they might be a better fit considering they like to run and he wouldn’t block any top prospects.

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