This wasn't some game of telephone or an unsubstantiated rumor that got overblown by the media (if it was, that was some pretty impressive journalism because Wren was fooled). I guess we could go with Kinzer's story that they "didn't have a verbal agreement" and he doesn't know how the Atlanta front office got the idea that they had one. Then there's the Braves' side of the story: Kinzer and Wren agreed to the terms, Kinzer asked Wren to fax a signed term sheet, and then Furcal's agent took the pact and used it as leverage to get the Dodgers to guarantee a third year. I guess Kinzer could be telling the truth with his denial (so could Rod Blagojevich) but myself and almost all of the media seem to be leaning towards Wren on this one.
I remember discussing with Alex and a couple of other readers whether Scott Boras lying to the Rangers about other teams' offers for Alex Rodriguez was unethical (Rodriguez ended up signing a 10-year $250 million deal, around twice as much as the next highest offer). I defended Boras' actions but what Kinzer and Furcal did is crossing the line. If you're still talking terms and use one team's offer as leverage, that's negotiation. If you agree to a deal only so you can waive an official piece of paper in another team's face, that's not (This really reminds me of the Carlos Boozer situation a couple of years ago).
The next few days are certainly going to be interesting. I'm sure we'll see a nasty battle played out through the media between Fucal's camp and Braves officials. Kinzer will continue to play dumb and we'll probably get a couple more frustrated comments out of the Atlanta front office, but in all this, let's not forget that it comes down to Rafael Furcal. The agent works for the player, it's not the other way around. What Furcal did was sleazy, unethical, and a few other choice words/phrases that I won't use because it's a family blog.Throw on top of everything that Furcal considers Bobby Cox to be a father figure and we've just got a real winner here.
Rafael, we respected your decision to sign with the Dodgers the first time (even if we didn't like it) but I think you've lost it all with this little stunt. Congratulations on burning the bridge to Atlanta and when you get all those boo's on July 31st (the first game the Dodgers play at Turner Field in 2009), you'll have really earned it!