My Take on the Rafael Furcal Drama

2421739643_32e6174d7aGood morning, WaBs.  I haven’t posted anything since last Friday, but I officially graduated from the University of Missouri that afternoon, so I think that’s a good excuse.  Luckily, our newest member over here has been picking up our slack.

Anyway, onto the pressing sports issues.  The Dodgers officially completed the deal that will keep Shortstop Rafael Furcal in LA for the next three years for around $30 million.  For those of you who are unaware of the drama that surrounded the contract signing, this article does a decent job of summing it up.  As you know, I’m a Braves fan, so I’ll try and keep my feelings from showing too much.  That may not happen though, so stay with me anyway.

In short, Arn Tellem and Paul Kinzer, Furcal’s agents asked Frank Wren, the Braves GM, to fax him a signed offer sheet, generally signifying that an agreement has been reached.  Instead, Tellem and Kinzer took the offer sheet to the Dodgers, presumably to show them in writing what the Braves had offered.  The Dodgers then topped the Braves’ offer and Furcal signed without giving Atlanta a chance to renegotiate.

Basically, I feel like the Braves got kind of screwed here but Tellem and Wasserman Media Group, the firm he heads, probably did enough damage to their reputations that no further action should be taken.  Plus, I’m not sure anything they did was technically illegal, just unethical.  Before this mess I would have thought that taking an offer sheet to another team would be illegal, but no one seems to be raising that point, so I guess it’s not.  It seems that Tellem could easily draw up his own offer sheet and forge Mr. Wren’s signature and send it to the Dodgers just as easily as getting a real one.  The Braves and Dodgers aren’t legally allowed to talk to one another about this since that would be collusion.  As far as I’m concerned, what Arn Tellem did is one step above forging his own contract and I’m not sure I’d put it past him. Far-fetched, I know, but still.

Throughout this process Furcal has been out of the country and has claimed to know nothing about the proceedings.  I suppose I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since I doubt players know the exact process of how their agents extract contracts from the ball clubs.  I could just as easily be convinced otherwise.

Since this news was broken, the Braves President and former GM John Schuerholz has come out with some pretty harsh quotes for Tellem and has said that the Braves will no longer be dealing with his firm.  Fine with me.  Not so fine to the Player’s Association who have claimed that this is illegal.  I’ll be interested to see how they plan on enforcing any sort of rule on the Braves.  The Braves currently have one Wasserman Media Group client:  Reliever Peter Moylan.  That will also be an interesting case to follow, (next year, I think, but I’m not 100% on that).

I would have loved to see Furcal back in a Braves uniform, but I don’t think he will break our plans for next year.  Earlier this offseason, I advocated signing Furcal or Edgar Renteria to spur the Jake Peavy trade along, but that didn’t happen.  Oh well, we ended up with Javy Vazquez, I guess.

Agree with me?  Think I need to stop whining?  Let me know in the comments.

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3 Responses

  1. As far as I know, the Braves can do what they say and not negotiate with Arn Tellem. The White Sox currently have the same policy with Scott Boras. Joe Crede is a Scott Boras guy and when he had arbitration deals to work out the last couple of seasons the White Sox brought in a separate negotiator from outside the organization because GM Kenny Williams refuses to deal with Boras.

  2. You’re probably right, but Wren and Schuerholz’s comments, they may not. WMG has a fairly impressive list of clients, so they’ll probably work something out. I’d still be fine if they didn’t. Then again, I tend to hold grudges.

  3. This whole deal seems shady. I don’t blame you for being upset. Nor do I blame the Braves for refusing to deal with such obviously shifty dudes. That sucks though, because I like Furcal. My opinion of him will go down several notches if I find out he had any prior knowledge of this. That would be sad.

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