Forget that speculation that Rafael Furcal could pick a team by the middle of this week.
Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, told ESPN.com Monday that he has previously scheduled business to attend to outside the United States this week, so "I don't see anything happening before the winter meetings."
The A's and Giants have actively pursued Furcal over the last couple of weeks. But another reason Furcal is in no hurry to sign is that two other clubs have interest, but only if they make another trade.
One is known to be the Braves, although Kinzer would not confirm that. The Braves would pick up their efforts to sign Furcal only if they include shortstop Yunel Escobar in another deal. Escobar would be part of any Atlanta package for Jake Peavy. And the Cardinals and Royals also have expressed interest.
Kinzer would not identify the fourth team in the Furcal hunt. But indications are that neither the Cubs nor Furcal's old team, the Dodgers, are currently in the mix. Executives from two other teams nominated the Red Sox and Orioles as possible matches.
Kinzer declined comment, other than to say: "There are a few situations right now that will play themselves out either before the winter meetings or at the winter meetings. And that will give us a clearer picture of what's going on."
Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.