Johan Santana to the Red Sox is all but done. Jon Lester, a center fielder, Justin Masterson and Ryan Kalish are the package. More details now.

Will Carroll, 5:15 p.m. ET

One insider believes that despite what the Yankees are saying in the press, the deal with the Twins for Johan Santana is anything but dead. “This is their M.O. in every way,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with them for years on stuff like this, and they say it’s not going to happen, and they wait for things to die down, and that’s when they pounce. I bet they still get him.”

Kevin Goldstein, 2:50 p.m. ET

The Phillies might not be wheeling and dealing like most teams, but Pat Gillick and Casey Close have met to discuss an extension for Ryan Howard. Howard is looking for a contract like the one that Albert Pujols signed before heading into arbitration, but you might want to note that Pujols and Howard are the same same age. That’s going to make a big difference when discussing a six- or seven-year deal.

The blockbuster that might have been between the Tigers and Marlins … won’t be. While discussions took place, the Marlins never got that serious, and don’t think the package they’d get for both would be better than the return they could get for Cabrera. This isn’t the only frustration the Marlins are feeling, as they watch the Rays making their push with the help of Florida Governor Charlie Crist while still not resolving their own stadium situation.

Could A.J. Burnett wind up part of a deal for Erik Bedard? Possible, but unlikely. The Jays don’t want to give up what Andy MacPhail likes from their
talent pool, likely Dustin McGowan and/or Alex Rios. The Jays would like to move Troy Glaus and are following some of the same leads as the Cards are for Scott Rolen.

Here’s some names overheard in trade talks … Matt Murton, Anthony Reyes, Mark Teahen, Bill Hall, Miguel Tejada, and Alex Rios. If teams can put them in line, any of those guys could be moved.

Will Carroll, 2:45 p.m. ET

Some smaller rumors circling the two megadeal discussions. First, Josh Hamilton appears to be in play, though the Reds aren’t committed to any specific deal. Hamilton has been mentioned as a cog in an Erik Bedard deal, and also in a rumored intra-division deal for the CubsSean Marshall. The Reds deny that they want to move Hamilton, but I was told that “everything’s on the table.”

The Orioles are at the center of many discussions, and could actually end up as a third cog in several deals as teams work to pry loose Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff, as well as the much-desired Bedard. The Blue Jays have been looking for some smaller deals, but could be in on Bedard as well; any offer would involve moving young pitcher Dustin McGowan.

The Mets have been noticeably quiet and noticeably absent from the lobby. They’re working hard, but there’s no solid evidence that they’re close to anything. Similarly, the Brewers offer winks and nods when asked if there’s something coming, but they hold onto information tightly, and I don’t expect them to do any really big deal.

Will Carroll, 2:10 p.m. ET

Will Johan Santana move? No one knows at this stage, but teams have started to make moves towards actual trades and signings while Bill Smith continues to … whatever it is he’s doing. The Sox and Yanks have seemingly made their final offers, but final doesn’t often mean final when it comes to the Winter Meetings. The Sox have exchanged medical records with the Twins, which could indicate that they’ve at least agreed on the players involved, and could also mean that Jon Lester is in there. Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe has had the best information on the deal, so keep your eyes there.

There are only ten teams looking for Erik Bedard? I’m surprised it’s that low. Every team official I spoke to was as excited about Bedard as they had been about Dan Haren. The Mets are making a strong push, but there’s a couple of teams–Seattle and Cincy–who are pushing hard. Cincinnati won’t deal Jay Bruce, not even for a true ace, but they’ve mentioned Drew Stubbs and Homer Bailey. The Mariners haven’t gotten down to names, but a similar package to what they discussed for Johan Santana has to be in play here.

What move do I think will happen today? I’m now not sure who, but it seems like the musical chairs for the available center fielders is going to start sometime soon. Whether it’s a long-rumored Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowand signings, or a deal involving Coco Crisp, the first move will likely set off a quick series of signings and trades as the supply of center fielders starts to shrink. There could be some big money for whatever guy is last available, which seems to be the problem in getting someone to sign first.

I had a chance to speak with Manny Acta last night. While the conversation wasn’t on the record, Acta seemed excited about the Elijah Dukes deal, as well as the continued stockpiling of young talent that the Nats have achieved. Acta is going to have as big a challenge in 2008 as he did in 2007, but I’m a believer in his own version of Mind Game.

Will Carroll

The buzz around the media room right now is the makings of a huge deal between the Marlins and Tigers, with both Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis heading to Motown for a five-player package that leads off with Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. Right now, who the other three are is apparently being worked out, and while there’s plenty that could still go wrong, multiple sources confirm that the talks are real.

Kevin Goldstein

I was able to catch up with the Indians‘ medical staff and present the Dick Martin Award at the Winter Meetings. Rick Jameyson, Head Trainer Lonnie Soloff, and Nick Kenney accepted the fourth annual award in recognition of their great work in Cleveland this past season.

Will Carroll

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