Friday, December 02, 2005

losing on furcal

with the rule 5 draft and winter meetings fast approaching (on monday), your devoted writer cannot help but begin to worry about jim hendry's position in the rafael furcal sweepstakes. as has been noted here and elsewhere, the cubs entire offseason will be effectively broken if hendry doesn't land furcal, who fills gaping holes at shortstop and the top of the order.

sources have quoted hendry as saying that, failing furcal, they are prepared to go with neifi and cedeno in 2006. all things considered, that probably means no playoffs. so getting furcal is big -- every bit as big as landing ramirez and lofton in 2003. without him, you can wake this cub fan in 2007.

and i think hendry knows it. hendry took a first class flight down south to sell furcal on the cubs last sunday, all day.

but it's now friday.

the offers on the table seem to be in across the board. the dodgers -- sensibly or not, unsatisfied with oscar robles and cesar ixturis -- charged into the furcal bidding full steam, offering $39 million over three years. the braves, not to be outdone after restructuring chipper jones' deal, sweetened their offer to 4-year/$32 million and will trade on furcal's father-son relationship with bobby cox.

the cubs offer of 5-year/$50 million has, meanwhile, been collecting dust for the better part of a week.

i have to agree with mark bowman at

With Furcal still unsigned despite having received much larger offers from both the Cubs and the Dodgers, it hints that Furcal truly wants to stay in Atlanta and will give the Braves a chance to make their final bid at the final hour.

clearly, if this were about money, furcal would be talking to the cubs and dodgers -- and, frankly, probably the dodgers, at an amazing $13 million a year with the prospect of being a free agent again after 2008 at the prime age of 30. but furcal obviously doesn't want to leave atlanta -- he'll only go if he feels compelled to. he must be anguishing over the decision.

and i can't say that i think that's good for the cubs. if it's this close, and schuerholz makes a late bid -- which i'm sure he can and maybe is waiting shrewdly to do -- odds seem to be that furcal will resign with atlanta.

and if it's the money that wins out, i'd bet furcal's headed to los angeles. $13 million a year is a lot, and he'll resurface in the market at the peak of his powers.

be prepared for a nasty shock, loyal cub fans.

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