Giants in discussions with free agent SS Renteria to replace Vizquel

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants could have a new starting shortstop by the end of the week.

San Francisco is keeping up its pursuit of free agent Edgar Renteria as the leading contender to replace 11-time Gold Glover Omar Vizquel, who was told after the season he wouldn't be re-signed. While it's unclear whether Renteria has formally been offered a contract, details on the parameters of a deal are being traded between the sides.

The Detroit Tigers declined to offer Renteria salary arbitration Monday.

The Giants don't publicly discuss their negotiations with free agents, but Renteria still is considered a top option for the middle of San Francisco's infield.

"We are, on an ongoing basis, talking to a number of different options at a number of different positions," Bobby Evans, the Giants' director of player personnel, said Tuesday. "Nothing's been nailed down."

San Francisco also had been interested in Rafael Furcal, but Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, has indicated the shortstop probably won't agree to a contract until next week's winter meetings in Las Vegas. And Furcal, sidelined for all but 36 games last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers because of back problems that required surgery, apparently is commanding a four-year deal.

The Giants might be able to get Renteria for two years and not have to take the medical risk they would on Furcal even though Renteria is two years older at 33. He's also a 13-year big league veteran.

A call to Renteria's agent, Jeff Lane, wasn't immediately returned.

The Oakland Athletics also are a serious suitor for Furcal, who last week visited A's executives at the Coliseum.

The Giants, committed to a youth movement, went 72-90 this past season for their fourth straight losing campaign. They haven't made the playoffs since 2003.

New owner Bill Neukom, who took over Oct. 1 for retired managing partner Peter Magowan, is committed to turning this club into a contender again as soon as possible. So, general manager Brian Sabean certainly wants to make some kind of splash in free agency if the situation presents itself.

Sabean expects to have a similar payroll of about $80 million, though Neukom has said he could step up with more money if it's for the right player.

San Francisco also has interest in CC Sabathia, but signing the star pitcher from nearby Vallejo could be a long shot. The Giants are only two years into lefty Barry Zito's $126 million, seven-year contract.

Renteria batted .270 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs this year for the Tigers, who after the season declined their $11 million option for Renteria and gave him a $3 million buyout.

If the Giants sign Renteria they might look to make a winter-meetings trade of Emmanuel Burriss, the promising shortstop selected by San Francisco in the first round of the 2006 draft. The 23-year-old Burriss played 95 games last season as a rookie.