Good morning AN. I was sitting at work a few hours ago when I had a revelation. Now I'm going to attempt to explain my thoughts as clearly as possible. This will be deep with conspiracy but not at all impossible.
When the A's selected Ben Copeland in the rule 5 draft, there was quite a few people on this site that suggested it could be preceding a trade of another outfielder. Now everyone assumed it was Cunningham or Buck, or one of those guys, but maybe it's Holliday. At first glance this seems like an outlandish idea, but please let me explain before you disregard this theory.
I thouroughly believe that the 4/36 offer BB made to Furcal was legit. If my memory serves, this offer was made at approximately the time that the 'Peavy to Braves talk' was on life support. The Braves have said that they would like to shore up the starting rotation and add an outfield power bat this offseason. When the Peavy trade talks died, that effectively took the best starting pitcher available (-CC who is was extremely expensive) off their list of options. If the Braves were going to have to settle for a lesser pitcher, is it possible that they could attempt to make up for that loss of production somewhere else?
Well, if there is only one other position that they are actively looking to upgrade at, wouldn't it make sense to try to make up the loss of production there? But who's available? Dunn, Burrell, Ibanez(at the time)? Well they would definitely help the offense, but would hurt the defense at the same time. So where can they get an elite outfielder? It would have to be via trade. When the A's traded for Holliday, it was popular opinion that he would most likely only be here until the trade deadline. So who would be one of the first people for Frank Wren to call? I would have to think that BB would be one of the first on his list.
Keep in mind that the A's were the frontrunners for Furcal for most of the offseason up to this point. There were also reports that Furcal "was excited" when the possibility of a return to Atlanta was brought up. At this point BB had to know that the likelihood of signing Furcal was slim. So, this is my scenario:
Frank Wren decides he wants to trade for Matt Holliday. When he approaches BB, he is told that it will take Y. Escobar. Fair enough. But then what do the Braves do for a shortstop? They just traded Lillibridge so they have no viable options at short. That leaves the Braves looking at the free agent market. And who will they see? None other than Rafael Furcal, who as already shown interest in a return to Atlanta.
Now, at this point, the Braves could have been putting together an offer for Furcal's services. Why BB had the second offer isn't quite as clear. Maybe they were concerned that he was going to accept LA's offer, squashing any possible Escobar for Holliday trade. Maybe it was a stall tactic to allow Atlanta the time to put together an offer. If I remember correctly, it wasn't long after the 4/40 offer that Atlanta jumped in from 'out of nowhere' to make an offer. So the timeline does seem to make sense.
What's the worst thing that could have happened? Furcal accepted Oakland's offer? Fine. Then send Furcal and Holliday to Atlanta for Escobar and someone else. Beane and company have been saying that they want to get younger and more healthy, so Furcal never really made much sense other than the fact that we desperately needed some kind of upgrade at short.
Again, this all conspiracy, but it does make just enough sense that it is worth considering. Maybe Beane could see the 'writing on the wall' while Furcal was dragging his feet. It is widely assumed that Furcal and his agent played the A's to get better offers elsewhere, but maybe he was the one being played for the last few weeks. Just maybe, Beane is smarter than even we give him credit for.