A's general manager Billy Beane, who had very little newsworthy to say -- again -- about his doings on Day 3 of this year's gathering, said some of the most interesting things go down after the sun goes down.
"The night has a tendency to kind of reveal some stuff," Beane said between stretches of uncomfortable silence as he briefed Bay Area-based reporters early Wednesday evening in his suite at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
"You do get calls at night, and for some reason that's always been the history here. ... When you have some time, you have a tendency to pick up the phone more often."
On that note, Beane was asked if he'd had a productive day.
"No, but we weren't necessarily trying to turn this into a productive day," he said. "We had some other things we've done, but it hasn't been overly baseball-intensive. Not so much on the player-acquisition level; a few things, but nothing that I would say is going to lead to anything imminent."
Thus, Oakland fans holding their breath on a major signing are advised to exhale. Beane confirmed he'd spoken with Paul Kinzer, who represents free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, but he characterized the conversation as "very brief."
"As long as it's an open-ended issue," Beane explained, "it sort of behooves us to keep contact with representatives of players [who appeal to us]."
Kinzer said last week that Furcal had rejected a four-year offer said to average about $9 million per season. The Dodgers, for whom Furcal in 2008 played out the last season of a three-year, $39 million contract, don't appear inclined to sweeten the pot on their offer to Furcal, which is believed to be for three years and include incentive clauses that provide the team some protection in the event of an injury.
Furcal, 31, missed most of last season with a back issue that required surgery.
"We'd like to share some of the risk with the player," Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said. "If he isn't willing to, he probably won't be here."
Kinzer has kept his client's name on the front burner of the hot stove by noting that the Royals and Blue Jays are "serious" in their pursuit of Furcal, but Beane suggested that such talk isn't likely to affect his own pursuit.
"Our approach on free agency in general is we're going to do what we can do, and either it's going to work or it's not going to work," he said. "We're not going to let outside [forces] dictate."
Asked if he's ever fallen victim to outside forces in the past and spent more than he'd planned to on a player as a result, Beane offered one of his signature pop-culture analogies.
"Yeah, I have, and you almost always end up regretting it," he said with a laugh. "It's like that 'Gilligan's Island' commercial where he says, 'You're not going to make me dress like a girl. You can't make me, you can't make me, you can't make me.'
"Then they show him again, and he's dressed up like a girl."
Also Wednesday, a Major League source confirmed that Beane has talked to Dan Lozano, who represents free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera. But Oakland's interest in Cabrera -- who is 34, made $10 million last season with the White Sox and would cost the A's a second-round Draft pick to sign -- is said to be tepid.
Incumbent A's shortstop Bobby Crosby is 28 and will make $5.5 million in 2009, after which he'll be eligible for free agency.
Beane said he's gotten into a little trade talk Wednesday, but as usual, he offered no details.
"We talked to a couple clubs, just kind of feeling around some things that might lay some groundwork for things later on," he said. "But nothing appears to be happening today or tomorrow. Nothing happened today that was necessarily a building block for something [getting done] tomorrow."
Before the end of his session, which truly did bring on the night, Beane went pop culture one more time when poking fun at the notion that the Yankees' seven-year, $160 million deal with free-agent lefty CC Sabathia might create a domino effect in the market.
"That would be like saying that Madonna sold her penthouse on Columbus Circle, so therefore that may have an impact on whether or not my house will sell in Danville [Calif.]," Beane said. "So, not really. ... It seems like a whole different league."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less