It’s possible Bill Smith could pick up the phone and call Theo Epstein and say let’s make a deal, but as we neared midnight here Wednesday, there was scant evidence that a trade for Johan Santana was in the offing. This thing is by no means dead — Epstein said he expected to maintain some dialogue with the Twins — but it was pretty apparent that Minnesota GM Smith was no more inclined to accept the Sox proposals than the Yankees offers that went by the board earlier this week.
For the Sox, the week represents a qualified “W” — Santana is not being measured for pinstripes. They would hardly be crushed if they open the season with Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury wearing the home uniform. At the same time, Santana represents a rare (albeit expensive) opportunity the Sox undoubtedly will continue to explore, even after these meetings break up tomorrow.
The Sox can afford the $20m-plus salary Santana can expect to command in a new contract extension; for example, Manny Ramirez’s $20m a year deal comes off the books after next season, assuming the Sox don’t exercise the two option years remaining on the deal.
With the Tigers challenging the Yanks for the most formidable everyday lineup in the game by adding slugger Miguel Cabrera in a deal with the Marlins, the Sox may well decide that they need to counter by signing Santana, which would give them a potentially hellacious rotation for years to come.
But it ain’t happenin’ in Nashville. As that old cowboy, Dandy Don Meredith, used to croon on Monday Night Football, “Turn out the lights….”