Giants have interest in other shortstops
Renteria, Cabrera could be less expensive options than Furcal
SAN FRANCISCO -- Aware that Rafael Furcal has multiple suitors, the Giants aren't limiting their search for free-agent middle infielders to him.Jeff Lane, the agent for shortstop Edgar Renteria, said Monday that he expects San Francisco to make his client "some kind of formal offer" this week. Lane said that Renteria, a career .290 hitter, has drawn interest from about six teams. This closely parallels the situation with Furcal, 31, who's believed to have received an offer from the Giants but has attracted inquiries from up to 10 teams. And an industry source said that San Francisco also has explored the possibility of signing Orlando Cabrera, another veteran shortstop. But signing either Renteria or Cabrera could cost the Giants in next June's First-Year Player Draft, depending on timing. Since both are Type A free agents, according to the Elias Sports Bureau rankings, the team that signs either would lose its second-round Draft pick if either one is signed before Dec. 1 or is offered salary arbitration by his former team on that date.
Signing Furcal, who's unranked by Elias, would require no Draft-choice compensation.Renteria, 33, hit .270 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 138 games last season with Detroit. Although his average was his lowest since 2001, when he hit .260 with St. Louis, Renteria is just a year removed from batting .332 with Atlanta in 2007.
Aware that critics have claimed he has lost a step defensively, Renteria is said to have been working out diligently.Cabrera, 34, batted .281 with eight homers and 57 RBIs in 161 games last season for the Chicago White Sox. A .274 career hitter, Cabrera earned $10 million in 2008, the same as Renteria. Both might be more economical alternatives than Furcal, who's coming off a three-year, $39 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Orlando Hudson, widely considered the top second baseman on the free-agent market, is said to have drawn no more than cursory interest from the Giants. As last season ended, the Giants indicated that rookie Emmanuel Burriss would inherit shortstop from 11-time Gold Glove winner Omar Vizquel, who turned 41 and will not be re-signed by San Francisco.
But Burriss also displayed proficiency at second base, which is where he might switch if the Giants sign a shortstop. In that event, Kevin Frandsen, considered a leading contender at second base, could become a candidate to play third base.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.