In a somewhat surprising move this morning, ESPN is announcing that Rafael Furcal, who spent six great seasons in Atlanta from 2000-2005, is ready to return to Turner Field for less money than the Oakland A's were offering him. Furcal has spent the last three seasons with the Dodgers and has continued to make a name for himself as one of the game's best leadoff hitters.
Once finalized, this move would make Atlanta shortstop Yunel Escobar one of the hottest shortstop commodities on the trade market, which should give the Braves what they need to go out and make a deal for a bigtime pitcher (read: Jake Peavy). Escobar's prowess and upside at shortstop is great, but putting Furcal back in the mix - and the Braves haven't made the playoffs since Furcal left Atlanta, for what it's worth - also puts more pop in the lineup. Adding an ace, resigning John Smoltz and putting Furcal in there makes Atlanta's chances for a postseason run in 2009 much better than they were a few weeks ago.