Athletics taking the thorough approach with shortstop hunt

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Athletics are still evaluating their options in the hunt for a shortstop and don't expect to have a deal in place by the end of the Winter Meetings.

The Oakland Athletics are in search of a shortstop. However, even with some options, such as Yunel Escobar, coming off the market, the A's aren't rushing and are taking a thorough approach to the hunt. As the end of the Winter Meetings draws near, the A's still have not zeroed in on a target.

Two potential targets have gotten the most press in recent days. The first is Stephen Drew, who finished last season in Oakland after an August trade. Drew's mutual $10 million option was declined by the A's, making him a free agent, but the club is said to be interested in bringing him back at a lower price. He is a career .265 hitter who once had double-digit home runs in three consecutive seasons, but a broken ankle has cost him much of the past two years.

The other player that has emerged is Japanese free agent Hiroyuki Nakajima. Nakajima is a prized international talent who hit .311 with 13 home runs last season in the Japan Pacific League. However, there is always uncertainty with how international performance will translate to the Major Leagues.

Oakland seems willing to take their time on the search. When asked for a timeline, A's GM Billy Beane said, "I don't necessarily expect it to be something that happens here [at the winter meetings]."

One thing to note is that the club isn't willing to part with any Major League starting pitchers or outfielders. Any options for trades would have to come from elsewhere in the organization.

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