The Oakland Athletics have been the top mentioned team in the Rafael Furcal "sweepstakes," with the Dodgers considered an outside shot to ink the shortstop. No one had really considered the Braves -- especially given their obsession with Jake Peavy -- likely to land the former Atlanta All Star, but that's the word coming from the ATL.
The Braves appear to be on the verge of bringing back shortstop Rafael Furcal, a move that could be the precursor to a trade for a starting pitcher.
FoxSports.com reported early today that Furcal, a free agent and former Braves standout, has agreed to return to Atlanta on a three-year contract that could be announced as soon as he passes a physical. He missed much of last season with back problems.
And there's a really strong chance that this move could signal PEAVY TIME in Atlanta -- it makes either Kelly Johnson or Yunel Escobar more or less expendable (at least until Raffy gets injured midway through April).
See, the Padres don't really want Johnson; they have their eyes set on Escobar by all accounts. Bringing in Raffy and then using Escobar plus some other package of prospects would bring the Braves Peavy back and all of sudden make Frank Wren look a lot less incompetent than he currently does. Of course, if no big deal for a pitcher happens, and Furcal can't stay healthy, or this deal exceeds what the A's were offering, things could get awkward.
On the whole though, provided the contract isn't obscene, seems like a good deal; yes, Furcal is aging, but when he's healthy, he's one of the best defensive shortstops in the league and is a tremendous table setter at the top of a lineup.
Rafael Furcal and the Braves Reportedly Shock Everyone by Reuniting for Three Years originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 16 Dec 2008 10:20:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.