Dodgers Make Offer to Rafael Furcal

The Dodgers have shown enough interest in free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal to make him a lucrative offer. Early this week, the Cubs offered a five-year deal but the Dodgers have made a comparable offer. Furcal has not ruled out returning to Atlanta, where he has spent his six-year career.

The Cubs reportedly offered the 27-yer-old shortstop a five-year deal worth an estimated $50 million. The Dodgers' offer is believed to be as high as three years for $39 million. A decision could come by the start of the Winter Meetings Monday.

The offer restores fans' faith that the Dodgers are willing to spend money to improve the team and his acquisition could go a long way toward regaining the club's reputation.

"We're still talking with them," said Furcal's agent Paul Kinzer. "Things are going well. We haven't made any commitment. There have been rumors that we have been close to signing with a team, but things are still wide open."

Furcal would take over for the injured Cesar Izturis if he joined the Dodgers, with Izturis eventually sliding over to second base and Jeff Kent to first base. Izturis is expected to be out until the All-Star break after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction.

Furcal played second base for the Dominican Republic team in the Caribbean Series in February so he could fill that position without trouble.

The Dodgers were interested in outfielder Brian Giles, who decided to remain in San Diego. Colletti, who had talked to Furcal's agent but had not made an offer, quickly made a solid bid for one of the few proven hitters in a thin free-agent market.

"If Furcal is on this team, we'd still have a place for Izturis," Colletti said. "He's a good player."

Colletti said he has not approached Kent about playing first, but that "if something presents itself, I'd certainly go to him ahead of time."

Furcal adds speed to an extremely slow roster and would give the Dodgers a quality leadoff hitter. He has scored an average of 107 runs the last four seasons and batted .284 with 46 stolen bases, 31 doubles, 11 triples and 12 home runs in 2005.

And Furcal's addition at the top of the lineup might allow the Dodgers to experiment at third or first base with prized prospects like Andy LaRoche, Joel Guzman and James Loney.

Drew recovering-- J.D. Drew said his fractured wrist was 100 percent and downplayed the injury-prone label. "I was hit by a pitch, what do you want me to do? Until then I had no other problems except for my knee (ligament tear) that came from diving for a ball in Arizona."

He said the wrist stopped hurting about three weeks after the season and he thinks that his rehab was irritating a bone chip in his wrist near the site of the fracture.

"Once I stopped and gave it some rest, it scarred over and it hasn't been an issue."

Drew's right shoulder is recovering after surgery to repair a slight tear in his labrum and deal with a bone deformity that was hampering blood flow in the joint. Drew may not be ready to play by spring training but he is optimistic it will not be an issue by opening day.

Drew hit .286 with 15 home runs and 36 RBI in 72 games before his injury -- one of the more costly losses in an injury-riddled 71-91 season that eventually cost Manager Jim Tracy and General Manager Paul DePodesta their jobs. DePodesta was replaced by Ned Colletti.

"It's been hard for me to follow all of it. It's been interesting," Drew said of the offseason changes. "Frank McCourt felt he needed to make some of those moves. I'm sure Ned has got his ideas of what needs to be done."