Assuming Rafael Furcal's back is sound and he passes the Atlanta Braves' physical, the next free agent shortstop to go should be Orlando Cabrera, who is sturdier and plays more often than Furcal, but is three years older and isn't the same caliber of leadoff hitter Furcal.
Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics, losers on Furcal, are likely to shift their attention to Cabrera, an edgy player who quickly wore out his welcome with the Chicago White Sox.
The Toronto Blue Jays, who withdrew their interest in Furcal before he agreed to terms with the Braves on Tuesday, probably will be peripheral players on Cabrera. They liked Furcal in large part because of his leadoff skills.
The Kansas City Royals also are looking for a shortstop and could make a play for Cabrera, although he might be out of their price range. The Dodgers, however, are most in need of a shortstop, and of Cabrera.
Omar Vizquel, still a marvel of conditioning and flexibility at age 41, can field but not hit, making him a one-year stopgap for a team that can't land – or doesn't want to land – Cabrera. The only other free-agent shortstop with a decent resume available is David Eckstein, who is more apt to find a job as a second baseman.
FUENTES CLOSING IN ON A JOB
Almost a week since the Mets signed Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year, $37-million contract that was less than most figured he'd get and little more than what the Angels had offered all along, Brian Fuentes continues to explore the rest of the market.
The Milwaukee Brewers are hoping to off-load salary by trading Mike Cameron to the Yankees. If that happens, they'll be in on Fuentes. The Angels will consider Fuentes (who is on the record as being enthusiastic about the possibility) if they are beaten out on Mark Teixeira. The Cardinals have been aggressively in, the Tigers a bit less so. And the Yankees – who might consider that whole Kyle Farnsworth strategy again – are a distant possibility.
NO PEAVY CHATTER
If the Furcal signing suggests the Braves are about to move incumbent shortstop Yunel Escobar for pitching, it doesn't look like it's to the Padres for Jake Peavy. Asked Tuesday morning if talks with the Braves (or anyone) had resumed, Padres GM Kevin Towers responded with a two-word email: “All quiet."