LAS VEGAS – Rafael Furcal continues to draw interest from the Dodgers, A's, Orioles and Blue Jays, though his list is fluid, and might also at times include the Indians and Royals. The Orioles' interest is perhaps most interesting, as it appears they would attempt to sign Furcal if they are successful in signing first baseman Mark Teixeira. Part of the Orioles' recruitment of Teixeira is a promise to upgrade in other areas, including at shortstop.
Many of those teams rate Orlando Cabrera just behind Furcal, and could turn to Cabrera when Furcal makes his decision. The Blue Jays are only in on Furcal, however, as they would like their shortstop to also be a true leadoff hitter. Cabrera batted leadoff for the White Sox last season, but he has a career on-base percentage of only .322.
Francisco Rodriguez turned down at least one contract offer from the Angels whose terms were at or near what he accepted from the Mets. They were not inclined to match the Mets' offer, however. “Our priorities shifted,” Angels GM Tony Reagins said. “Our priorities were Teixeira. We understood Francisco was not going to wait on the Angels to make that decision.” Reagins did not rule out several scenarios in the ninth inning, including signing free agent Brian Fuentes.
• The details of the Casey Blake contract: Three years, $17.5 million guaranteed, with a fourth-year, club option for $6 million. There are plate appearance escalators up to $500,000 per year that can be earned in each of the three years of the deal, so the contract can range up to $19 million over the next three years. In all but one of Blake's last six seasons, he would have earned all of these escalators.
• Of the handful of teams that spoke to the Rangers about trading for shortstop Michael Young, two said the Rangers initiated the contact. They are shopping Young.
- The Orioles