LAS VEGAS -- The A's pursuit of free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal has reportedly cooled in the past week, but with Furcal's list of suitors seemingly thinning by the day, the stage appears set for Oakland general manager Billy Beane to play the show-stopper role he so relishes at baseball's annual Winter Meetings.
The Meetings officially open here Monday, and Beane figures to be plenty busy from his operational headquarters/suite at the opulent Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
"Busy in the sense that we'll do a lot of talking," Beane said. "Just like the GM Meetings are busy."
The GM meetings essentially spawned the November blockbuster that brought All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday to Oakland. Before leaving Las Vegas, Beane and the A's would like to further bolster what was an anemic offense in 2008.
In addition to Furcal, whose demands may prove too high for Oakland's tastes, there have been rumors linking the team to free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera and free-agent first baseman Jason Giambi.
Last week, the agent for free-agent lefty Randy Johnson said the A's have expressed interest in his client, but Beane said after the Holliday trade that he doesn't plan to bolster his young and largely inexperienced rotation through Major League free agency.
"If we bring someone in," Beane said, "it'll probably be on a Minor League, make-the-team-first deal."
On Tuesday, A's manager Bob Geren will sit down for his annual state-of-the-team media session with the national press.
On Wednesday, there will be an announcement regarding the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
The Meetings conclude Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.