Hot Stove League: Manny to Yankees?

Since the Yankees signed CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett last week, things have been pretty quiet in the Hot Stove League of Major League Baseball. The economy, despite what Scott Boras might tell you, is definitely a huge factor as Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, and to a lesser extent, Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn remain team-less. But since rumors continue to circulate, you know that phone calls are being made, albeit a bit less with Christmas approaching.

The latest rumor has the Yanks talking to Ramirez and sticking him in front of A-Rod in what would be a pretty ridiculous lineup for a few years. You have to wonder how deep the Steinbrenners’ pockets really are, but let’s face it…doing that would make New York AL East favorites even if the Red Sox land Teixeira (which is either becoming doubtful or Theo Epstein is playing the media) and the Rays field basically the same team that went to the World Series in 2007. And it would piss off Sox fans to no end, giving them more reason to despise Manny Being Manny.

And Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry has reported that the Jake Peavy trade may be re-visited. He didn’t want to part with as much salary as San Diego wanted him to, and he didn’t want to include Mark DeRosa in the deal, but apparently Hendry is still very interested in pursuing the powerful right-hander.

Oh, and Rafael Furcal shunned his former team, the Braves, for his more current former team, the Dodgers, this past week. If you are yawning, I don’t blame you. And if you’re a bitter Braves fan, I don’t blame you either.

So what will happen between now and January 1? I don’t think much. And if you are a marginal free agent (see list above), the unemployment line beckons a bit louder. And that can’t be good for anyone, especially those pesky player agents.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Rafael Furcal pulls about face, stays with Dodgers

Two days ago it appeared that free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal would once again don an Atlanta Braves uniform in 2009. But the club Furcal left the Braves for in 2005 eventually came through with an offer more to his liking and now the most prized shortstop on the market is heading back to the Dodgers.

On Monday night, the Braves were under the distinct impression that they had a deal with Furcal. On Tuesday, the Dodgers re-entered the discussions, and by Wednesday afternoon the Dodgers and Furcal were hammering out the terms of an agreement, sources said.

The Braves on Wednesday were informed that Furcal would not accept their deal.

“When people deal with you in this manner, they lose credibility,” Braves GM Frank Wren said. “You don’t forget these things.”

According to Wren, this is how the situation played out:

· Wren reached agreement on the terms of a contract with Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, on Monday night, pending the approval of Furcal.

· Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, Wren spoke with Kinzer three or four times, negotiating the dollar amount, the years and terms of the vesting option, and other contractual details.

· Wren and Kinzer spoke again around midnight Monday night. Kinzer told Wren that he had not yet heard back from Furcal, but that Furcal was excited and that “we’re good.”

· On Tuesday morning, Wren woke up to a voicemail from Kinzer telling him to put a term sheet (the standard baseball term for an official contract offer) together.

· Wren went into his office in Atlanta, put the term sheet together and signed it.

· Shortly thereafter, Kinzer began “backpedaling,” saying he promised the Dodgers he would talk to them.

I don’t blame Wren for being upset because it looked like Furcal was going to be a Brave by the end of Tuesday. Then Wren wakes up on Wednesday and is told that Furcal is likely heading back to L.A. But that’s the business, I guess. Agents don’t care about the teams – they care about their clients and finding the best deals. It’s too bad it had to go down this way for the Braves.

Rafael Furcal heading back to Braves

According to FOX, 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 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.

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.

Who will sign Rafael Furcal and Garrett Anderson?

FurcalThe Los Angeles Angels have passed on offering arbitration to veteran left-fielder Garret Anderson. This comes as no surprise since the organization previously spent $3 million to buy out Anderson’s $14 million contract. The Los Angeles Dodgers have also refused arbitration to a former All-Star, shortstop Rafael Furcal.

The Angels spent $3 million to buy out the $14-million option on Anderson’s contract, but Monday’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean Anderson’s 15-season career with the Angels is over. The team can still negotiate with the outfielder, who has hired Scott Boras as his agent.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Furcal’s days with the team aren’t necessarily over.

“We obviously have interest in the player and the player has interest in being here,” said Colletti, adding that he spoke over the weekend to Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, which represents Furcal.

But the Dodgers’ refusal to offer him arbitration is further evidence that Furcal’s demand for a four-year deal isn’t the only point of contention in their negotiations. The Dodgers are also reluctant to re-sign him at the average annual salary of $13 million he made over the three years of the contract he completed this year, and an arbitration hearing might have resulted in a raise.

The Angeles will be fine in the outfield, whether they decide to re-sign Anderson or not. They have Torii Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Rivera, Vladimir Guerrero, and Chone Figgins, all who can play the outfield positions. Hopefully, the Angels are doing a salary dump with Anderson’s contract so they can secure Mark Texiera to at least a three-year deal. Texiera was the only Angel who could swing a bat in the ALDS against the Red Sox. If they lose him, they’ll be without a gold-glove first baseman and have to rely on Guerrero as their only source of power. Anderson still has one or two productive years left in him. He’s mediocre at best in left field, but can still hit around .300 and give you 17 home runs. He’s also a California loyalist and could find a perfect fit with…

The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be setting themselves up for failure. It’s true that Manny Ramirez propelled the team into the NLCS with his bat, but he was able to do it with the exceptional pitching of Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda. Lowe will likely return to Boston next year, so the Dodgers will be without an ace in their rotation. Now, they’re going to let Rafael Furcal go, either to Oakland, San Francisco, or Atlanta. If the Dodgers are dumping contracts in order to sign Ramirez, the future Hall of Famer will garner a contract so large that they team will be unable to fill the holes left by Lowe and Furcal.

Why not just let Ramirez go back to the American League where he can’t harm their already pathetic division? The Dodgers could then make an attempt to sign CC Sabathia, and bolster their already strong rotation. Re-sign Furcal and then go after Adrian Beltre and Garret Anderson to fill the position at third base and left field, respectively. I know Sabathia will land a gigantic contract, but it won’t be nearly as disgusting as Ramirez’s. If Dodgers GM Ned Colletti plays it wisely this off season, he can definitely put together a team that reaches the playoffs once again.

Related Posts