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LAS VEGAS -- The Phillies and Yankees appear for the moment to have emerged as the two most prominent contenders for star free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe, who seeks at least a five-year deal for about $80 million.

The 35-yer-old Lowe has been pursued by about 10 teams, but it appears those two have been among the more aggressive for Lowe. The Red Sox and Mets are among interested teams discouraged by the price. An official with one team interested in Lowe said he was "shocked'' how high the bidding appears to be going.

The Phillies are an intriguing team, as they are also pursuing their own free agent starter, Jamie Moyer, as well.  The Yankees are chasing enough starters to fill an entire staff, including top target CC Sabathia, plus A.J. Burnett, Oliver Perez and Ben Sheets.

Big Unit wants to stay out West

Randy Johnson wants to stay out West to reach his milestones. He'll be a Hall of Famer, but like a lot of starters in this market, he's waiting for the three top starters -- CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe -- to sign somewhere before finding his spot.

The A's, Giants and Dodgers are believed to be possibilities for Johnson, who needs five wins for 300 and 211 strikeouts for 5,000. I could see the two Bay Area teams being a litlle more likely, as Dodgers manager Joe Torre couldn't have been all that impressed with the work Johnson did for him as a Yankee in 2005 and 2006.

A's remain interested in Furcal

The A's remain interested in star free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, but it remains uncertain whether the sides can get back together after breaking apart talks last week.

Oakland offered Furcal $36 million over four years, and when the A's asked for an answer, he chose to keep shopping. The Dodgers have an interest in bringing back Furcal, but not for four years (they are thinking more like two).

The Braves, Cubs and Indians are among other teams thought to have some interest.

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