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A's intend to meet with Drew's agent soon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It would seem that two meetings in as many days between A's general manager Billy Beane and super-agent Scott Boras in the confines of the Winter Meetings would be significant.

Maybe so, if they hadn't occurred at the gym.

Boras, who represents free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew, was simply "dodging medicine balls" in his run-ins with Beane, who assured that the pair would engage in a formal meeting by the time he leaves Nashville on Thursday morning.

That means Drew is still on Oakland's radar. Yet several other clubs can say the same about the infielder, who is primed for a generous deal, much thanks to the slim shortstop market that houses him.

Boras deemed the market for Drew "ever-growing" and said, "I think he's looked at as the shortstop in this market, so there are a number of clubs that have looked at him both for their current needs and for teams that may be making trades as well."

The A's are expected to depart the Winter Meetings without a peep, transferring their work back to Oakland having not made a move. However, free-agent Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is believed to still be in the mix, as are other options.

"We've explored some trade possibilities and opted not to pursue some of those, and there are still some available to us," Beane said. "We're still dealing with several different options and, to be honest, with no sense of urgency."

Such remarks allude to Yunel Escobar, who was taken off the board Tuesday, seemingly even before he was traded to the Rays for an infield prospect. Another likeable trade candidate, Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera, will demand a much greater return package, and the A's aren't willing to part with any of the starters or outfielders the Indians would want.

On Thursday, part of the A's focus will shift to the Rule 5 Draft. Their 40-man roster is at capacity, so the team would need to clear room if it wanted to select a player, and it seems unlikely it would add someone in the Major League portion.

On the flip side, the A's have more than 40 players in their system that are eligible for Rule 5 selection. Some notable players within that group include right-hander James Simmons and Bruce Billings and infielder/outfielder Conner Crumbliss. Simmons, a 2007 first-round pick who compiled a 1.59 ERA in 12 games with Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League, is the most likely to go.

Oakland Athletics, Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Drew, Hiroyuki Nakajima