Hat in hand, Jim Hendry went to Georgia today to speak with Rafael Furcal and his agent. This from the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan:

The Cubs made one last push for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal over the weekend and expect a final decision before the end of next week’s winter meetings in Dallas.

General manager Jim Hendry met with Furcal at his Georgia home on Sunday, hoping to convince him Chicago would be a perfect destination.

Both Hendry and Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, declined to comment on the meeting. The Cubs and Atlanta are considered the two main suitors for Furcal…Since the final offers may be similar in value├│around $10 million per season for four or five years├│Furcal’s future may ultimately come down to where he feels most comfortable playing.

Furcal’s affinity for Braves manager Bobby Cox could be a deciding factor, though he’s also close friends with Cubs shortstop Neifi Perez and third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who have been lobbying on the Cubs’ behalf for the last month.

So I guess it comes down to whether or not Furcal wants to take yet another run at a championship with a manager he likes and a teamful of burgeoning prospects or take a chance at a team with a $100 million payroll and a feel-good clubhouse atmosphere and management that doesn’t “push too hard.” What makes you feel better, Raffy?

Sullivan also insinuated that the Cubs are close to signing utilityman (corner outfield, third and first) John Mabry to a Cub contract. Sullivan envisions Mabry as playing a role similar to Todd Hollandsworth in 2004 – I envision Mabry as being Jose Macias’ replacement. Let’s hope my vision is more accurate than Sullivan’s!

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