Furcal’s agent releases a statement

The Dodgers still haven’t officially announced the signing, but this showed up in my email. It’s apparently from Arn Tellem, one of the two agents representing Furcal (the other was Paul Kinzer), and it is in response to statements made by Atlanta Braves officials who felt they weren’t deal with fairly on the issue. Here it is:

With regard to the negotiations between the Atlanta Braves and Rafael Furcal, the essential facts are clear and cannot be disputed.

1. There was never an agreement reached between Rafael Furcal and the Atlanta Braves.

2. In fact, the Braves were fully aware that Furcal was not prepared to make a decision but had requested an opportunity to sleep on it, before deciding.

3. Moreover, the Baseball rules which all agents and teams operate under are clear that no deal exists between a player and a team unless and until: (i) there is a signed and executed player agreement or; (ii) the Player’s Union and the Commissioner’s office have otherwise confirmed the deal. Neither occurred here.

4. Furcal ultimately decided to accept the Dodgers’ offer, taking into consideration a number of factors the most important of which was his desire to continue playing short-stop and not make the position change to second base that the Braves were requiring.

5. Losing out on an all-star player like Furcal is always disappointing, and we understand the Braves’ frustration with the outcome of this negotiation, but it does not change in any way the fact that we conducted ourselves with integrity and complied with all rules of major league baseball throughout this process.

6. Our primary obligation is to serve our clients best interests, and we will continue to do so in accordance with all relevant rules governing MLB negotiations and the utmost integrity.

7. If it serves our clients we will continue to present opportunities to the Braves, which in accordance with the rules governing Major League Baseball, the Braves must entertain. We hope that once emotions have subsided, the Braves will act in a manner consistent with not only their obligations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and The National Labor Relations Act, but also the best interests of the franchise. In short, we would not want this incident to color their better judgment.

Nice honor for Hong-Chih Kuo

He is the 2008 Setup Man of the Year, as voted on by fans through mlb.com. Here is the release from the Dodgers:

LEFT-HANDER HONG-CHIH KUO VOTED BY FANS AS 2008 SET-UP MAN OF THE YEAR

Award is part of MLB.com’s “This Year in Baseball Awards”

LOS ANGELES – Dodger left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo today was named the 2008 Set-Up Man of the Year, as voted on by fans on MLB.com. The award is part of the website’s This Year in Baseball Awards. The Taiwan native received 30.3 percent of the vote, ahead of Tampa Bay’s Grant Balfour (19.2 percent), the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol (17.6 percent), and the Angels’ Scot Shields (7.5 percent).
Kuo’s 1.69 ERA (13 ER/69.1 IP) as a reliever in 2008 led the National League and ranked seventh in the Majors (min. 50.0 innings). The 27-year-old bounced back from left rotator cuff and left elbow injuries in 2007 to pitch a career-high 80.0 innings over a career-best 42 games (three starts). Kuo went 5-3 with 12 holds, one save, and a 2.14 ERA overall. He finished tied for second on the Dodgers in holds with Joe Beimel, behind only Jonathan Broxton’s 13.
One of five Taiwan-born players in Major League Baseball history, Kuo struck out 96 batters in his 80.0 innings for an average of 10.80 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He limited the opposition to a .204 average, including a .202 mark (19-for-94) by left-handed hitters. Beginning July 27, left-handed hitters went just 3-for-23 (.130) against him.
Kuo earned his first big league save on August 14 vs. Philadelphia, closing out a 3-1 win with a two scoreless innings.
In four Major League seasons, all with the Dodgers, Kuo is 7-13 with a 3.90 ERA in 87 games (14 starts).

Correcting the contract numbers

It’s actually three years and $30 million, not $33. It breaks down to $6.5 million in 2009, $8.5 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2011, with a $3 million BONUS (not a buyout) that he gets at the end of the contract regardless of whether the option vests. The option is, as previously reported, $13 million, and it vests if he has 600 plate appearances in 2011. That’s a lot of PAs even for a leadoff guy. If you assume 4.5 per game, that’s 133 games, which is very reachable if he stays healthy and not so reachable if he doesn’t.