AP source: Furcal stays with Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal accepted a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth at least $30 million on Wednesday, and the Atlanta Braves accused the star shortstop of reneging on a deal they thought was agreed to earlier this week.
Furcal can earn an additional $3 million if he remains healthy during the three guaranteed seasons of the contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was still not yet official.
A day earlier, Furcal had been close to accepting a $30 million, three-year offer from the Atlanta Braves, his original major league team.
"From our perspective, we reached an agreement Monday night," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "They asked for a term sheet for us to sign on Tuesday morning, and we sent over the signed termed sheet. It was then that his agent (Paul Kinzer) informed us that (Kinzer's) partner had been in contact with the Dodgers.
"We still think there are players out there who can help us put the team together. Obviously, we began the offseason thinking about acquiring a power bat in the outfield, but when we had a chance to get a dynamic leadoff hitter and a solid fielder like Furcal, we took a very hard look at it."
Earlier Wednesday, Kinzer said Furcal had never accepted the Braves' offer.
"They know we didn't have a signed contract, that we didn't have even a verbal agreement. We had, `Things look very good and Raffy's going to sleep on it," Kinzer said after a news conference for another client, Francisco Rodriguez.
Furcal gets $6.5 million next season, $8.5 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2011. The deal includes a $12 million team option for 2012, and the option would become guaranteed if he has 600 plate appearances in 2011. He also can earn an additional $1 million annually, including the option year, if he remains healthy.
Furcal also will get a $3 million payment by the end of the January following the contract's completion. He has a limited no-trade provision allowing him to block deals to a specified number of teams.
The 31-year-old switch-hitter, coming off a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers, played for the Braves from 2000-05.
Furcal hit .357 with five homers and 16 RBIs last season, but was limited to 36 games and 143 at-bats by back problems. He had back surgery July 3 and was sidelined until the season's final week, but started each of the Dodgers' eight postseason games, hitting .258 with one homer, three RBIs and nine runs scored.
Furcal was hitting .366 through May 5 before injuring his back. He reached base in his first 30 games of the season, becoming the first Dodger to accomplish that feat since Duke Snider in his first 34 games of the 1955 season.
Furcal still owns a home in the Atlanta area, but owns another in nearby La Canada Flintridge as well.
Los Angeles hesitated to make an offer of more than two years because of Furcal's medical history, but general manager Ned Colletti has been saying for weeks that signing the shortstop was his immediate top priority.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and Associated Press Writer George Henry in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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