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Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Updated: December 18, 2:05 PM ET
Sources: Furcal back with Dodgers

ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Rafael Furcal is staying with the Los Angeles Dodgers, reaching a preliminary agreement Wednesday on a three-year contract.

Furcal
Furcal

Sources tell ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that the deal is for $30 million, the same total that Furcal was close to accepting from his former team, the Atlanta Braves, a day earlier.

Furcal will receive $6.5 million the first year, $8.5 million the second, $12 million in 2011 and will receive a $3 million bonus at the end of the contract. He receives a vesting option for a fourth year that can be achieved if Furcal reaches about 600 plate appearances in the third year of the contract. The Associated Press reports that he would earn $12 million in that fourth year.

Furcal finalized his decision late in the afternoon, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official.

Buster Olney's Blog
A deal is supposed to be a deal -- except when it's not, as Braves GM Frank Wren found out, Buster Olney writes. Blog

The Braves felt that they were on the verge of making their deal official on Tuesday.

"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.

The 31-year-old Furcal, coming off a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers, played for the Braves from 2000 to '05.

He 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 another in La Canada Flintridge, in Southern California, 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.

Colletti can turn his attention to pitching and free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez. A pair of Los Angeles starters, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, became free agents.

Buster Olney covers Major League Baseball for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.