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Report: Furcal stays with LA

Braves claim he reneged on offer

Associated Press / December 18, 2008
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Rafael Furcal accepted a three-year contract to stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth at least $30 million yesterday, and the Atlanta Braves accused the star shortstop of reneging on a deal they thought was agreed to earlier this week.

Furcal can earn an additional $3 million if he remains healthy during the three guaranteed seasons of the contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was still not yet official.

A day earlier, Furcal had been close to accepting a $30 million, three-year offer from the Braves, his original major league team.

"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."

Earlier yesterday, 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.

Furcal gets $6.5 million next season, $8.5 million in 2010, and $12 million in 2011. The deal includes a $12 million team option for 2012, and the option would become guaranteed if he has 600 plate appearances in 2011. He also can earn an additional $1 million annually, including the option year, if he remains healthy.

Furcal also will get a $3 million payment by the end of the January following the contract's completion. He has a limited no-trade provision allowing him to block deals to a specified number of teams.

The 31-year-old switch hitter, coming off a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers, played for the Braves from 2000-05, making the NL All-Star team in 2003.

Mets not for sale
The New York Mets say the money lost by their ownership group in Bernard Madoff's alleged Ponzi scam will not affect team operations.

Madoff may have stolen $50 billion from clients, a group that included Sterling Equities, the real estate company of Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said the family's holdings are diversified and that the loss will not affect operations of the high-spending team, whose $138 million Opening Day payroll was third in MLB.

"The individual partners lost some money at Madoff. It doesn't affect the Mets. It doesn't affect the Citi Field project. It doesn't affect SNY or any of our other operating businesses," Jeff Wilpon said.

He vehemently stated the team was "uncategorically, totally, completely not for sale."

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said that to his knowledge, no other owners had invested with Madoff.

Pudge signs on
Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez will play for Puerto Rico at next year's World Baseball Classic. The 14-time All-Star signed an agreement to play in the 2009 tournament, Puerto Rico general manager Lou Melendez said.

Rodriguez was traded from Detroit to the New York Yankees during last season and hit .276 overall with seven home runs and 35 RBIs. He is currently a free agent.

Melendez said Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran of the Mets were expected to sign up in the coming days.

Hearing delayed
Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain's arraignment on drunken-driving charges was delayed until next month in Lincoln, Neb. The 23-year-old former Nebraska standout was to appear in court yesterday, but his attorney asked that the arraignment be postponed until Jan. 26. Chamberlain is charged with first-offense drunken driving and having an open alcohol container. Authorities say his blood-alcohol level was 0.134 percent; the legal limit in Nebraska is 0.08 percent . . . Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg will manage the Chicago Cubs' Double A Tennessee Smokies in 2009, moving up after two seasons with the Cubs' Class A Peoria Chiefs.

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