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Saturday, December 3, 2005
Updated: December 5, 10:11 AM ET
Furcal agrees to three-year deal with Dodgers

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Shortstop Rafael Furcal and the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached preliminary agreement on a $39 million, three-year contract, his agent said Sunday.

Rafael Furcal

Paul Kinzer said a physical was scheduled for his client on Monday. Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch would only say no announcement was planned before baseball's winter meetings, which begin Monday in Dallas.

Los Angeles beat out Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs for Furcal, who had spent his entire six-year career with the Braves.

"He liked all three fits," Kinzer said.

Kinzer said the Dodgers entered the negotiations late, but that new general manager Ned Colletti and owner Frank McCourt made a persuasive argument.

"Earlier in the week, we were about finished when they got involved," Kinzer said. "They asked if we could listen. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Ned."

Adam Katz, Kinzer's partner, had dinner with Colletti on Tuesday night. Furcal and Katz went out to dinner Friday night in Los Angeles with McCourt, and Furcal was impressed by McCourt.

"He told Raffy his vision of where he wanted the team to be and how he fit in," Kinzer said. "Once the Dodgers went to $13 [million], the Cubs and Braves weren't moving to that point."

Furcal will receive $9 million next year, with $5 million of that to be called a signing bonus. He gets $13 million in cash in each of the following two seasons, and there is a final $4 million payment in January 2009.

"It's going to be tough. This is going to be the first time he's ever been without Bobby Cox," Kinzer said, referring to the longtime Braves manager.

It was the first major move for the Dodgers under Colletti, hired in mid-November as the successor to Paul DePodesta. Before Los Angeles got involved, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry appeared to be the favorite.

"Jim Hendry really wanted it, worked hard," Kinzer said.

A switch hitter, Furcal batted .284 last season with 12 homers, 58 RBI, 100 runs scored and 46 steals in 56 attempts. He hit .279 with 24 homers, 59 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 103 runs in 2004 and .292 with 15 homers, 61 RBI, 25 steals and 130 runs scored in 2003.

Furcal is a proven leadoff hitter and exceptional fielder known for his strong throwing arm. He committed only 15 errors last season.

The Dodgers have an All-Star shortstop in Cesar Izturis, but he underwent reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow late last season and isn't expected to play until July.

Izturis could be shifted to second base when he returns, with All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent moving to first.

The Dodgers remain without a manager, but could make a hiring this week. Colletti has interviewed five candidates -- Jim Fregosi, John McLaren, Grady Little, Manny Acta and Joel Skinner.

Hampered by numerous injuries, the Dodgers had a 71-91 record last season -- their second-worst since moving from Brooklyn in 1958.

A year earlier, they went 93-69 in winning their first NL West championship in nine years. They lost the Division Series to NL champion St. Louis 3-1, but won their first postseason game in 16 years.