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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Santana talks moving along

Wrote here last Friday that the folks in position to have insight into the Johan Santana talks strongly believe that the Twins and Red Sox will eventually work out a deal, and as Joe Christensen writes this morning, the two sides continue to talk. The Twins seem to prefer a package built around center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, rather than Jon Lester.

It goes without saying that the Red Sox rotation could be extraordinary this year, with this alignment:

RHP Josh Beckett
LHP Johan Santana
RHP Curt Schilling
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka
RHP Tim Wakefield/Clay Buchholz

Boston would be an easy pick to repeat as AL East champion (and being an easy pick never guarantees actual success).

But an Ellsbury deal would have a chance to make the Twins an interesting team moving forward -- if not necessarily a contender, because of so much uncertainty and inexperience at second base, shortstop and third. Think about the outfield that the Twins would field day in and day out:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B/3B Jed Lowrie
C Joe Mauer
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Justin Morneau
LF Delmon Young
DH Jason Kubel
SS Alexi Casilla
3B/SS/2B? Nick Punto

• David Segui told everyone last year that he was on the Jason Grimsley list, and now he is telling everyone that he was on the clientele list of Kirk Radomski, as Dan Connolly writes. The Mitchell report figures to be at least 400 pages, writes Tim Lemke.

• Heard last night that the Giants might be the team to give Aaron Rowand the five-year deal he wants, and Andrew Baggarly reports this morning, in a more substantive way, that San Francisco may jump into the Kosuke Fukudome bidding but are more likely to target Rowand. Here's the bottom line for the Giants: Their projected everyday lineup is nothing short of atrocious.

The Giants should have a better plan than they do, writes Ann Killion.

• The bidding on Fukodome may be up to $50 million, writes Tom Krasovic. The Cubs are eager to hear a decision from the Japanese outfielder.

• The goal of Jay Gibbons is to win back fans, in the aftermath of his admission about using HGH.

• The Mariners have the best offer on the table for Hiroki Kuroda, writes John Hickey, with the Dodgers representing Seattle's toughest competition.

• Mike Lowell is going to the White House for dinner with the president, writes Rob Bradford.

• Within this story, there is word that the Pirates and the Tigers are talking about a possible Brandon Inge deal.

• Now that the Rangers have signed Milton Bradley, Gil LeBreton wonders: Is that it?

• Luis Pujols is going to be a Double-A manager for the Astros.

• The Red Sox are buying the Salem Avalanche ... or something like that.

• Hideki Matsui might have already indicated to the Yankees that he's willing to waive his no-trade clause, and the Yankees can still make something happen with Dan Haren, Hank Steinbrenner indicates.

• The Nationals spent $5 million to sign Paul Lo Duca, which buys them a transition year for young catcher Jesus Flores.

• Lo Duca turned down the Blue Jays, writes Jeff Blair. The Giants are mulling the Jays' offer of Alex Rios, writes Cathal Kelly.

• Carl Pavano keeps firing his agents, as George King writes.

• The D-backs are waiting to hear back from the Athletics about their offer on Dan Haren.

• The Rockies now have a bullpen hole, writes Patrick Saunders, in the aftermath of LaTroy Hawkins' departure to the Yankees.

• After mulling retirement, Salomon Torres has decided to go to Milwaukee, where he has a chance to be part of a pretty good bullpen. Within the same story, there is word that the Brewers are cutting ties with Kevin Mench.

• Pirates GM Neal Huntington thinks he's going to hang on to his relievers.

• The Braves still have some moves to make, writes David O'Brien.

• Hitters could take aim at the South Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg if the Rays get their new park, writes Baird Helgeson.

• Baseball is not the only sport with drug-testing loophole issues, writes Michael Schmidt.

• Vanderbilt is trying to keep its football coach.