Yanks-Twins talks still alive despite reports to contrary

Updated: January 15, 2008, 1:54 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner has not closed the door on a trade for Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana, despite reports to the contrary.

"It's still in the deciding process," Steinbrenner said Monday night outside Legends Field at the Yankees' spring training complex. "We're still discussing it. There's still a little talk back and forth."

Earlier on Monday, a baseball official with knowledge of the talks told 1050 ESPN Radio's Andrew Marchand that the Yankees had pulled their Phil Hughes-centered trade offer for Santana off the table. The source said Steinbrenner could still change his mind.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Hal Steinbrenner, Hank's brother and a Yankees partner, and general manager Brian Cashman do not support making one of the previously proposed Santana deals.

"He's the general manager, and I'm going to pay attention to the opinion of our top baseball people," Hank Steinbrenner said, according to the paper.

Johan Santana

Santana

Right-handed pitcher Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera would likely be part of a multiplayer package needed to obtain Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who can become a free agent after this season.

Hank Steinbrenner said reports that the Yankees recently withdrew a formal offer to the Twins are not true.

"There wasn't an official offer anyway. You can't withdraw something that wasn't there," he said. "There was no official offer on the table at this time."

Since early December, the Yankees, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox have had Santana discussions with the Twins, with each team at different times reportedly taking the lead in the race to acquire the lefty.

It remains unclear of late if the Twins intend to trade Santana before the start of the 2008 season or hold onto him until the July trade deadline. Minnesota's earlier offer to extend the left-hander's contract by four years and $80 million was rejected.

Rick Anderson, the Twins' pitching coach, wants to see an outcome as much as anyone.

"I wake up in the morning and hurry up and open up the paper to see if anything happened," Anderson, who has tutored Santana since 2002, the first year his potential began to show, told The Associated Press.

Santana has been in Venezuela since the regular season ended, but he recently arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., to start his workouts.

In his first published comments this winter, Santana told the local newspaper that he didn't know what to think about the situation.

"I'm a Minnesota Twin. That's all I know. It's up to them. Whatever they have to do is going to happen. It has nothing to do with me at all," Santana told the News-Press of Fort Myers recently. "I said it from the beginning during the season last year, whatever will be the best for this team and this organization, I'll agree with that."

The Yankees did reveal one pitching plan on Monday. They plan to have an innings-pitched limit for another promising young pitcher, Joba Chamberlain, this season.

Hank Steinbrenner said one option is to have Chamberlain start the season in the bullpen, when teams normally need just four starters, and then join the rotation. The decision will be made by manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland.

"He will be a starter. That's everybody's intention," Hank Steinbrenner said. "How to start him out the year and build up his innings, and how to get him to that point is up to Girardi and Eiland. They may want to start him out in the bullpen and go to a starter. Or he could go a couple other different options."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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