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The idea is not as bizarre as it might sound.

The A's are targeting Johnson to be their fifth starter, major-league sources say, figuring he would give their rotation a veteran presence while commanding only a one-year deal.

At the moment, the A's top four starters are Justin Duchscherer, Dana Eveland, Gio Gonzalez and Sean Gallagher. None of them threw as many innings last season as Johnson did for the Diamondbacks — 184.

Johnson, who is only five victories short of 300, could boost attendance as he approached that milestone. With Johnson, Furcal and left fielder Matt Holliday, the A's would gain not only star power, but also the chance to contend.

Don't look for free-agent designated hitter Jason Giambi to join that group. Rather than bring him back, the A's might prefer to take a chance on a trade for Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, who missed most of last season with a right-wrist injury.

Phils: Waiting on Moyer, pursuing Lowe

The Phillies can't figure out why free-agent left-hander Jamie Moyer is proving so difficult to re-sign. Hence, they're exploring other options -- most notably, free-agent right-hander Derek Lowe.

The only way the Phillies would sign Lowe is if they lost Moyer. They have discussed Lowe with his agent, Scott Boras, "pretty extensively," according to a source familiar with the club's intentions. The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that the Phillies already have made Lowe an offer.

Moyer, who went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 196 1/3 innings in the regular season, then won Game 3 of the World Series, might simply be exploring a relatively thin free-agent market for left-handed starters. After CC Sabathia, the top lefties available are Oliver Perez, Andy Pettitte, Randy Wolf and Randy Johnson.

The Yankees, faced with the possible loss of Pettitte, are monitoring all of those pitchers except Johnson, who had a rocky run with them in 2005 and '06. The Dodgers have shown interest in Pettitte, and conceivably could turn to others in the above group, including Moyer.

Lowe, 35, obviously would command a far bigger deal than Moyer, 45, forcing the Phillies to structure his contract creatively — and likely pursue an inexpensive replacement for free-agent left fielder Pat Burrell.

Ten Phillies are eligible for salary arbitration, and their combined raises likely will total between $25 million and $35 million. Thus, one year of Moyer — even at an increase from his $5.25 million average salary — would be more affordable than say, a three-year, $42 million contract for Lowe. The Phillies also have spoken to Darek Braunecker, the agent for free-agent righty A.J. Burnett, but Burnett's price figures to be even higher than Lowe's.

The Phillies did not offer salary arbitration to Moyer, preferring to stay flexible in their off-season maneuvering. They would not receive a high draft pick if they lost Moyer as a free agent. They would lose one if they signed Lowe or Burnett.

The Braves' next step

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

San Diego Padres News

News » A's still after Furcal, but may chase Big Unit too 2008-12-04


A's still after Furcal, but may chase Big Unit too 2008-12-04


A's still after Furcal, but may chase Big Unit too 2008-12-04
The A's remain the front-runner to sign free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, but that might not be their last major off-season move.

Picture Randy Johnson in the green and gold, winning his 300th game in an Oakland uniform.

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