NASHVILLE -- The A's are ironing out details with dumbbells and barbells. Amid elliptical trainers and treadmills, Oakland isn't exactly sweating over the details presented by Stephen Drew's agent Scott Boras at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to Boras, there are a number of clubs interested in Drew. He declined to specify the number. He did say that he has met with A's general manager Billy Beane the past two mornings -- in a somewhat unorthodox setting.
"It was in the gym," he said. "And I was dodging medicine balls."
Boras described Beane as a little bigger and stronger than himself. Maybe that is why the A's general manager prefers to discuss business while pumping iron.
"My best work is done in the gym," Beane said with a smile in his suite.
All kidding aside, the interest that Drew is drawing from Oakland remains consistent. Beane will meet with Boras in a more formal setting before departing the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
"I consider that formal," Beane said of his gym meetings. "All the rumors are true. That's really my office."
Boras claims that Drew is the head of the free agent class at shortstop. Surrounded by a large contingent of national media, Boras described the market for the 29-year-old shortstop's services as "ever-growing."
"I think he's looked at as the shortstop of this market," Boras declared.
The frequent meetings aren't exactly a sign that something is going to get done soon. There is no sense of urgency on the A's side to complete a deal for a shortstop, yet. The A's like to wait for a bargain, and Boras' clients tend to sign late in the offseason.
The waiting game has left the A's with one less option to fill their infield needs. The Rays acquired Yunel Escobar on Tuesday in a trade with the Marlins. The A's did have some interest in Escobar.
"We've explored some trade possibilities and opted not to pursue some of those," Beane said.
It's not hard to decipher who the clever A's GM was referring to there.
Oakland has also been meeting with the representation for international free agent Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions' shortstop from the Japanese Pacific League is an intriguing option.
With one less trade target on the board, and the A's and Boras playing dodgeball, Oakland's time in Nashville is more of a fact finding mission than anything. The team is laying the groundwork for a deal or signing. After all, it is equally important to exercise the mind and muscles alike.