The Sports Network reports the Atlanta Braves agreed with free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal (Dodgers) on a three-year deal with a vesting option for a fourth year. The deal is pending a physical but should aid a Braves lineup and gives third baseman Chipper Jones a lot more RBI chances with Furcal hitting ahead of him. This also means the Braves could be ready to pull the trigger on a trade to send shortstop Yunel Escobar elsewhere.
Furcal has had injury problems the last two seasons. Back surgery limited him to 36 games last year. He hit .357 in 143 at-bats, though. He also hit five home runs, drove in 16 runs and stole eight bases. He had a down year in 2007 when he hit .270 with six homers, 47 RBIs and 25 steals. Last season's hot month of play is a good sign that 2007 was an aberration. Furcal had a few good years in Atlanta, and that comfort level should allow him to produce as one of the better fantasy shortstops.
Furcal still carries a lot of name value in the fantasy world. The 31-year-old will still probably be among of the first handful of shortstops taken given his penchant for stealing bases. He carries a little risk due to the back injury, but he produces well when he's healthy.
He typically goes in the sixth round in 12-team drafts, but that makes him a bit overvalued because his lack of power hasn't really been balanced by a stellar average throughout the years.
About Ryan Dodson
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.
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