The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Dodgers have agreed to a three-year contract with free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal that will pay the former Brave $40 million dollars.
Furcal had been weighing offers from the Braves and Cubs. Reports had the Braves offer at either three or four years in the $8 million per year range, while the Cubs had reportedly offered $50 million over five years.
The 28-year-old Furcal will still be a rather young 31 when this Dodgers' contract expires, so he could possibly get another large contract.
Last year Furcal hit .284 last season with 12 home runs, 58 RBI, and 46 stolen bases. It was really a tale of two seasons, as he hit only .254 before the All Star Break with an on base percentage of .310. But after the Break he hit .322 and had an OBP of .394.
The Braves could now turn to Wilson Betemit, who hit .305 last season in 246 at bats with 4 home runs and 20 RBI. The 25-year-old switch-hitter played mostly at third base last year, but he played well when he moved over to his natural position of shortstop.
With the winter meetings starting Monday, the Braves could also look to replace Furcal through a trade. The team has been linked to rumors involving Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo, who hit .295 last season with 39 stolen bases.
It's also possible the Braves could give Betemit the shortstop job but look for an outfielder to become the new leadoff hitter.
The Times report says Furcal will take a physical in Los Angeles Sunday and then will be introduced at a press conference at the Winter Meetings in Dallas on Monday.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. You can email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BravesCenter's Bill Shanks discusses the Braves' shortstop situation in our first ever audio podcast…