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SAN FRANCISCO -- The plot thickened slightly Friday in the Giants' search for a free-agent infielder, as Jeff Lane, the representative for shortstop Edgar Renteria, said that club management and his client have exchanged contract proposals.
"We're actively negotiating, no doubt about it," Lane said.
Whether a decision will come quickly is debatable. Renteria is being courted by about six teams, at least a few of which might be the same ones eyeing shortstop Rafael Furcal. Renteria probably won't sign until Furcal, a higher-profile free agent, does so first.
Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, said Friday that they continued to evaluate the offers they've received. Furcal's suitors include the Giants, A's, Braves, Orioles, Cubs, Dodgers and possibly the Cardinals.
The Giants also have expressed interest in Orlando Hudson, the top second baseman available in free agency, although insiders believe that they have not tendered him an offer.
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.
The Giants entered the offseason declaring that Emmanuel Burriss likely would be their Opening Day shortstop in 2009, but apparently revised their thinking after pondering last season's offensive statistics. Giants shortstops ranked last in the National League in batting average (.228) and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage, .576) and tied for last in home runs (one) and runs (51). The highly regarded Burriss probably would move to second base if San Francisco acquired a veteran shortstop.
Giants officials have refused to comment on individual free agents since open bidding began last Friday.