December 18, 2007

EXPLOIT THE TABLOIDS:

Time seems on Sox' side with Santana (Gordon Edes, December 18, 2007, Boston Globe)

The Twins have a new general manager, Bill Smith, who is content to sit back and see whether any of the prospective suitors for the two-time Cy Young Award winner are prepared to blow him away with an offer. If not, he holds onto his ace, not an unhappy prospect for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

The Sox are operating from a position of strength, not desperation. Would they love to have Santana? No question. Do they need him? Coming off their second World Series title in four seasons, with a rotation anchored by a prime-of-his-life Josh Beckett and a certain-to-improve Daisuke Matsuzaka, a raft of coming-of-age pitchers like Clay Buchholz, Lester, Justin Masterson, and Michael Bowden, and last-hurrah lions like Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield, that's a matter of interpretation.

Last week's trade, in which Oakland sent its ace, Dan Haren, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a package of prospects, was a potential call to action for someone to close a deal with the Twins, the thinking that Haren was the natural fallback plan for anyone missing out on Santana. But not all aces are graded equally, and for the Sox, standing pat may be the most attractive contingency to missing out on Santana.

So far, clearly, Epstein has decided Santana isn't worth the price that appears to have been set in Minnesota, one that includes some combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Buchholz, and Lester. In the meantime, the phone lines remain open, the e-mails get exchanged.

Much the same situation exists for the Yankees and any other team still lurking about, like the Mets. The Yankees feel with Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy, they can solve their aging pitching questions internally. The Mets would seem to be more desperate, but they may not be able to piece together a package sufficiently attractive to entice the Twins.

"My sense of it," said one major league source with direct connections to a Santana suitor, "is that nothing will happen in the near-term."


You'd think the Mets have to be feeling the pressure enough that they'd outbid the Sox and Yankees, so offer a deal where you send them Juan Rincon & Nick Punto as well and get back: Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez, Ruben Gotay, Mike Pelfrey, Ambiorix Burgos & Joe Smith.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2007 6:22 AM
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