It’s just Rafael Furcal we’re talking about, but Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz is so livid with Furcal’s agency over the negotiation of his free agent deal that he’s vowed to never do business with the agent ever again.
(Furcal is putting this jersey back on again, much to the chagrin of the Braves)
That might be a little bit difficult, considering that the lead agent in the Wasserman Media Group is the formidable Arn Tellem. According to Schuerholz, the Braves had a verbal deal with Furcal on a three-year, $30 million contract (with a vesting option), but when the team faxed paperwork finalizing the terms that Furcal was supposed to sign, Wasserman agent Paul Kinzer took that form to the Dodgers and used it as leverage. As your probably know, Furcal ended up signing with the Dodgers. Schuerholz then unloaded on the agency.
According to the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, Schuerholz is saying he’s done working with Tellem’s group:
“Having been in this business for 40-some years, I’ve never seen anybody treated like that,” Schuerholz said. “The Atlanta Braves will no longer do business with that company — ever. I told [agent] Arn Tellem that we can’t trust them to be honest and forthright. I told him that in all my years, I’ve never seen any [agency] act in such a despicable manner.
“It was disgusting and unprofessional. We’re a proud organization, and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated that way. I advised Arn Tellem that whatever players he represents, just scratch us off the list. Take the name of the Atlanta Braves off their speed dial. They can deal with the other 29 clubs, and we’ll deal with the other hundred agents.”
Tellem responded with an email contending that his agency did nothing wrong, and that it’s actually against baseball rules for the Braves to refuse negotiating with his clients:
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.
Tellem also indicated in his email that Furcal was opposed to switching to second base, which was a condition of the Braves’ offer. Yunel Escobar is a rising star at shortstop for Atlanta. Furcal will continue to play shortstop for the Dodgers. He spent his first six years in the league with Atlanta.
Peter Moylan is the only Braves player listed as a baseball client listed on the Wasserman website. If Schuerholz sticks to his guns, he’s not going to be signing Sammy Sosa or Kei Igawa anytime soon. Tough break, Braves fans.