NASHVILLE - Here's what we've learned in the first few hours here at the winter meetings: According to major league sources, none of Boston's young prospects are untouchable in talks with the Twins for Johan Santana.
But there's a major "but...".
If Jacoby Ellsbury is included in the package, the rest of the package won't include Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz. In other words, the Red Sox are taking a very systematic approach to this. They're telling the Twins, you can have one of these guys, but the rest of the package won't include our three best prospects. The rest of the package will be something less than the Twins desire.
The Twins wanted to hear the Yankees say OK on Phillip Hughes and apparenly they have heard that. But the Yankees, according to sources, are taking a similar approach to Boston: Take Hughes and maybe Melky Cabrera, but don't expect much after that.
What's the end game? If the Red Sox succeed in raising the price for the Yankess to acquire Santana they'd enjoy that. If they land Santana, they'll enjoy that, too. If neither the Red Sox or Yankees land Santana either because they can't agree to players or they can't agree to a deal for the lefty free-agent-to-be after the 2008 season, that's even better. In that scenario Santana stays with Minnesota for the time being or he's shopped out of the AL East.
SI. com reported tonight that the Yankees have a Monday deadline on a deal for Santana. Brian Cashman doesn't get here until Monday. According to major league sources, the Red Sox have given the Twins no deadline on their end, so they're willing to wait it out.