Rafael Furcal's agents respond to Atlanta Braves' accusations
Agent Arn Tellem of the Wasserman Media Group that represents Rafael Furcal issued a written statement today in response to comments made by Atlanta Braves officials.
Braves General Manager Frank Wren and President John Schuerholz said their club had reached an agreement to sign Furcal to a three-year deal, only to learn later that Furcal's agents were still negotiating with the Dodgers. Furcal on Wednesday agreed to a three-year, $30-million contract with the Dodgers and is tentatively scheduled to undergo a physical on Friday.
Of his relationship with Tellem and Paul Kinzer, Wren told a Georgia radio station: "That bridge is gone. I don't have to worry about burning it." Schuerholz also told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Braves would no longer consider signing players represented by Tellem's agency.
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 client's 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.
-- Dylan Hernandez
Photo: Sports agent Arn Tellem, right, and Casey Wasserman. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times
Photo (inset): Rafael Furcal. Credit: Nati Harnik / Associated Press