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There is a growing sense around the various lobbies and atriums of the Opryland Hotel and Resort that Johan Santana may not be going to either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox. The two superpowers are trying to trade for the Twins‘ ace left-hander, and the Yankees want an answer by the end of the day. If the Twins and Yankees don’t reach a deal, there is an increasing chance that the Red Sox will pull their various offers off the table and keep Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester. If that is the case, Minnesota would be forced to trade Santana somewhere else for what would likely be a lesser package, or just hang on to him for the 2008 season, take a run at one more American League Central title, and then lose him as a free agent next winter, and settling for the two draft picks they’d get as compensation. Santana has said he will not waive his no-trade clause during the season, which rules out a deadline deal in late July.

Kansas City continues to be the front runner to land free agent outfielder Jose Guillen. The Royals look at Guillen as the hitting version of Gil Meche, the right-hander they signed to a five-year, $55 million contract as a free agent at last year’s Winter Meetings in an attempt to show that the franchise is again interested in being competitive. The Royals were criticized for signing Meche, but he wound up with a 5.3 SNLVAR last season, which ranked 17th in the American League last season.

John Perrotto, 3:45 p.m. ET.

The Santana deal is still holding up the Meetings, with Twins GM Bill Smith not backing off his demands. However, the Yankees won’t include Ian Kennedy or Jose Tabata, while the Red Sox won’t add Clay Buchholz. Despite the Yankees’ deadline, this situation is one that’s not budging today. In response, the Twins are not standing still. They have already discussed a couple of deals, including
two offers for Joe Nathan. Neither initial offer amounted to much, and the Twins
probably aren’t likely to dump Nathan in same offseason as Santana after already watching Torii Hunter depart.

In the other major pitching rumor, Dan Haren therefore becomes the favorite to be moved, but there’s not much action on him in the shadow of Santana drama. The Mets would love to add Haren, but don’t have enough in the way of prospects to get him, not without involving a third team.

The Cubs have several things simmering at once, but even after missing out on Kaz Matsui, they’re still focused on Japan. A big preemptive offer to Kosuke Fukudome could be made soon, as the cubs focus on adding lefty bats. They’re
also willing to deal spare parts like Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, and Matt Murton.

Finally, a pair of additional notes. First, in the one area of the market where supply might actually match demand, the first center fielder to move might be Coco Crisp. The Red Sox are looking for bullpen help, and perhaps Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson in particular. Second, in the latest deal swung by the ever-busy Nats, manager Manny Acta was very involved in today’s Elijah Dukes deal, even going so far as to fly down to the Dominican to check on Dukes in person.

More news as it breaks, straight from Nashville.

Will Carroll, 5:45 p.m. ET.

On the Elijah Dukes trade: “That’s just great – do they sign Bonds next to serve as a mentor to him and Milledge?” and, “Between this and the Delmon Young trade, it’s pretty clear the Joe Maddon has suddenly received a lot more control than he had before.”

On the Hall of Fame Announcement: “The fact that Marvin Miller still isn’t in is a total joke and an embarrassment. At this point, it looks like they’ll keep holding that grudge even after he dies.”

On the Carlos Quentin Trade: “At first, I wondered what they were going to do with Chris Carter, and what the Red Sox were planning with Quentin, and then I was told, that it’s that Chris Carter and those Sox. Nice deal for Chicago.”

On The Pirates claiming Josh Wilson and Ty Taubenheim: “Yup, it’s a new era in Pittsburgh. OK, maybe not. Let’s give it some time.”

On Rumors of Oakland Shopping Dan Haren: “I think they’re just seeing those offers for Johan Santana and wondering if they can get something similar. I don’t think they’re really interested in dealing him unless somebody does something stupid–which certainly could happen in this market.”

On The Trade Market In General: “There’s not a lot going on from what I can tell. A lot of conversations are getting started, but it seems like what is asked for a what is being offered is so far apart as to be a non-starter.”

On The Meetings Taking Place in 38 Degree Nashville (As Opposed To The Usual Warmer Climates) For The Second Time in Six Years: “Why are we here again?

On A Certain Player (let’s call him John Doe) Who I Recently Wrote Some Mildly Negative Things About: “Hi Kevin, I’m John Doe’s agent.”

Kevin Goldstein, 9:30 p.m. ET.

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