LOS ANGELES -- According to sources close to the negotiations, new Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has made his first offseason acquisition, reaching agreement with free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal on Saturday night. A deal of three years and $39.5 million jumped the Dodgers past Furcal's original team, the Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago Cubs, the only other finalist. The Cubs were believed to have offered five years and $50 million, the Braves something less than that. The addition of Furcal to the roster will accomplish several of Colletti's offseason goals.
Foremost, the 28-year-old Dominican provides a proven leadoff hitter. He will be an immediate replacement for All-Star shortstop Cesar Izturis, who is expected to be sidelined until the All-Star break while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction, and, with Jeff Kent, will provide a second veteran infielder while the Dodgers consider turning over at least one of the corner positions to some combination of top prospects James Loney, Joel Guzman and Andy LaRoche, among others. When Izturis returns, he likely would slide over to second base, while Kent could move to first. The Dodgers' resolve to land Furcal heightened when free agent outfielder Brian Giles, on the verge of signing with the Dodgers, instead accepted a sweetened bid by the San Diego Padres to retain him earlier in the week.