Cabrera's camp mum on A's talks

Cabrera's camp mum on A's talks

OAKLAND -- The San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend cited "a source" in reporting that the A's will talk with representatives for free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera this week.

However, Cabrera's primary rep and Oakland's brass aren't saying anything.

For the A's, that's hardly a shocker. General manager Billy Beane has long had a policy against discussing free agents, and he stuck to it Tuesday via text from New Zealand, where he's been for a speaking engagement.

For a high-profile player's agent to refuse to discuss his client with the media is a bit of an upset, though. This offseason, more than most in recent memory, agents have been using members of the media to drum up interest and/or speculation about their clients in a slow-moving market for free agents.

MLB.com tried to reach Cabrera's agent, Dan Lozano of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, on Monday, and was told by one of the company's employees that Lozano "isn't talking to anybody."

That won't stop others from talking about Cabrera and the A's, and that means they won't stop talking about Oakland's incumbent shortstop, Bobby Crosby, until the situation reaches some sort of conclusion.

Oaland struck out in its efforts to replace Crosby with free agent Rafael Furcal, and then put Crosby on waivers only to find no takers.

"I feel really bad for Bobby," A's second baseman Mark Ellis said. "You hate to see anyone go through something like he's been through, but that's all part of the business. Everyone goes through something like this at some point in their career, although maybe not this bad, but if there's one thing I know about Bobby is that he handles adversity pretty well.

"Maybe he'll use this as extra motivation. He's going to be playing baseball somewhere this year, one way or another, and all he can do is go out and work on his game, which I know he's been doing.

"I hope he has a big year, and I think he will."

Cabrera, who made nearly $10 million with the White Sox last season, has been said to be looking for similar money on a new deal, but the A's certainly won't be making that kind of offer.

Oakland's hope is that Cabrera, 34, comes down considerably on his asking price, but the Chronicle reported that he'll consider sitting out the start of the season if he doesn't get an offer to his liking.

Were the A's to sign Cabrera, a Type-A free agent, they'd have to surrender a second-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft.

Beane gets back from New Zealand on Wednesday, so he'll have seven days to sign Cabrera if he wants him in camp when A's position players report to Spring Training on Feb. 18. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for the following day.

If Cabrera is not signed by then, Crosby can expect to be an ongoing story throughout camp, particularly when he first reports.

"It's going to be bad," Ellis said. "But like I said, Bobby handles things pretty well -- at least on the surface. I'm sure he'll handle this well, too."

Notes: Ellis, who is recovering from surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder, said he's been playing catch from about 100 feet at Oakland's Papago Park facility.

"There's not a lot behind it yet, but just to be throwing that far is good, and everything feels great," he said.

Ellis also has been hitting and said he feels a little rusty, but he hasn't experienced any pain while swinging a bat. He won't start taking ground balls until camp officially opens, and he remains optimistic about being ready for Opening Day.

"[Spring Training is] a week longer this year, and I didn't really even think about that until a couple weeks ago," he said. "But that's going to help me a lot."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.