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The Oakland A's, who this winter have improved their offense with the addition of Matt Holliday and fortified their bullpen with the additions of Russ Springer and Michael Wuertz, is saving a little spending money and could still take a final shot at free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera -- if he's willing to take a deep discount.
The A's made an earlier run at shortstop Rafael Furcal, offering him close to $40 million over four years. But now, after the market has tightened, they are thinking about a one-year deal for Cabrera at probably no more than $5 million, and maybe less than that. The A's have been frustrated in recent years by injuries that have hampered their shortstop Bobby Crosby.
It isn't known what other teams are considering Cabrera, but he appears to be one of several excellent players (Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf) who may be hurt in an unusually slow market. Cabrera hit .281 with eight home runs and 57 RBIs and played fine defense for the White Sox in 2008.
Cabrera's longtime comp Edgar Renteria managed to get $18.5 million over two years from the Giants early this winter before the market tightened. Cabrera actually had a much better year than Renteria in 2008, and whoever gets Cabrera will likely get a bargain.