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Why are Sox still in Santana hunt?

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  January 29, 2008 04:09 PM

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Why are the Red Sox still in the Johan Santana hunt after an off-season where their farm system has been praised and pumped up by the No. 2 ranking of Baseball America?

Good question.

The only answers are 1) the Red Sox are genuinely interested in Santana and the thought of creating a superstar rotation with Santana and Josh Beckett at the head of it; 2) the Sox don't trust that the Yankees really are out of the hunt even though we're hearing in the last few hours from major league sources it's between Boston and the Mets.

We all know that a deal for the Yankees and Santana is always one Steinbrenner intervention away from happening and the Red Sox may be figuring that as well.

From the number of E-mails received here it seems that Red Sox Nation would rather build with the kids after the Sox have won two championships in four years than obtain Santana.

From a Red Sox management point of view, one would think with the Yankees and Mets both building new stadiums and their revenues likely to increase even millions more than what they are now, that the Red Sox would begin to exhibit payroll control and go with Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson and Jed Lowrie rather than trade them off and pay Santana $20-25 million per year over the next five to seven years.

We all know the Mets, who suffered one of the greatest sports collapses ever last season, need Santana desperately and have to pull out every stop to obtain him. That might even mean having to deal both young outfielder's Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez (as well as two pitching prospects). A National League GM told me this morning he feels the Mets will land him because in the end "they can't let the one guy who can make them the best team in NL, pass them by."

You can tell there's something going on by the lack of response to inquiries on this subject from Twins' GM Bill Smith, Theo Epstein and Omar Minaya over the last 24 hours. Also, Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, is in "No comment" mode which is a sign
something is heating up.

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