Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Santana vs. Lackey on Opening Day?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, it looks like the Twins’ big story of the winter meetings is going to be a non-story after all. Some well-connected folks at Baseball Prospectus just quoted a Twins official as saying they are “99 percent certain” Johan Santana will be a Twin when the meetings end tomorrow. I haven’t been able to find anyone to say anything nearly that definitive (mostly the team’s employees say, ‘You know I can’t talk about that’), but it certainly fits the general consensus in the Opryland Hotel.

Peter Gammons of ESPN has also reported that the Twins aren’t moving their ace this week, and various reports keep coming in that other teams, sensing hesitation on Minnesota’s part, are contacting general manager Bill Smith with messages along the lines of “What would it take?” Supposedly the Mets and Mariners have made that call – but apparently not the Yankees, not yet.

The Red Sox offers are apparently still on the table, and a Baseball Prospectus report a couple of hours ago said the Twins might ask that Jon Lester be examined by their doctors to make sure his arm is sound.

Now that the Tigers-Marlins trade is official, it might make sense for the Twins to just wait a while and see whether other teams start feeling pressure to match Detroit’s dramatic move. The Yankees say they are happy with their rotation now that Andy Pettitte is coming back, but as spring training draws closer, it’s hard to imagine that the opportunity to upgrade won’t entice them.

But for the moment, Ron Gardenhire is right: Santana is his opening day starter against the Angels.

-- Phil Miller

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