Athletics and Giants Courting Furcal

Free Agent shortstop Rafael Furcal is a wanted man. At least 10 other teams, other than the Dodgers that is, are interested in signing him, including both the Giants and Athletics who recently expressed interested in him.

Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer told MLB.com that while "nine or 10 teams have expressed interest" in Furcal, only six of them had contacted him since the start of open free agency on Friday, and Kinzer suggested -- without saying the actual words -- that the Giants are among the teams that have presented a formal offer. Kinzer said that the A's have not made an offer yet.

Kinzer said that the A's level of interest is on par with that of the Giants, noting that he talked to Oakland officials last weekend.

"The A's have been [interested] all along, and it's been very strong on their part, too," Kinzer said, adding that Furcal, the top shortstop on the open market, might agree to a deal before the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Dec. 8-11.

"It could be fairly soon," Kinzer said. "We're hoping to narrow it down to three teams here pretty soon and see where Furcal wants to go from there."

Kinzer said Furcal is looking for somewhere in the ballpark of four years at $10 million per season and he said it is important "where Rafael feels comfortable" is the top factors in negotiations.

The Dodgers have expressed interest in retaining the shortstop who had surgery on his back in July but fought back to join the club in the final week of the season and who played in the National League Division Series against the Cubs and the National League Championship series against the Phillies.

He signed a three year, $39 million contract with the Dodgers in 2006 and he back injury has seemingly made the Dodgers a bit leery of the 30-year-old.

He was the 2000 National League Rookie of the Year and a 2003 NL All-Star with the Braves. Furcal batted .357 with a .439 on-base percentage, five home runs and 16 RBIs in 36 games in 2008, the first season since 2001 in which he played fewer than 138 games.

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