Braves free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal is leaning toward signing with the Chicago Cubs.
A source familiar with negotiations said Furcal received a five-year offer from the Cubs that was significantly greater than he was offered by the Braves, in dollars and contract length.
The race for Furcal is down to two or three teams — Braves, Cubs and possibly the Los Angeles Dodgers — with a decision expected within a few days.
Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, was scheduled to have dinner Tuesday with Furcal to discuss the proposals, and they were waiting to hear what the Dodgers offered in a Tuesday night meeting in Los Angeles between Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and an associate of Kinzer's from RKL Baseball Group.
Kinzer met with the Braves on Monday after meeting with Cubs officials on Sunday at an Atlanta hotel. Furcal stopped by for a brief discussion with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry during those meetings.
Furcal's career OBP is .348, he's stolen 46, 29, and 25 bases over the last three years. The Dominican native has hit 12, 14, and 15 homeruns over the past three years. He has hit double digit triples twice (11 in 2005 and 10 in 2003). He'll hit doubles too: 31, 24, and 35 in the past three seasons. Furcal's a good player, I am not sure these numbers make Furcal a $10 million player. Still, the Cubs struggles in the leadoff spot and a weak free agent crop might make Raffy a $10 million man over the next 4 or 5 seasons.
It sounds like this drama will play itself out within the next week or so (at some point Hendry will get an outfielder or two). I really wonder what plan B is for Hendry. I also wonder if tying this teams 2006 season to a player with Furcal's track record is smart.