This morning's New York papers are filled with reaction and rebuttal to Joe Christensen's report yesterday that the Mets are a mere inclusion of Fernando Martinez away from landing Minnesota Twins' starting pitcher Johan Santana. However, there is also rumblings about what Mr. Christensen's purpose was in reporting the five-prospect offer- to bait the New York Yankees to get back into the bidding.
Unfortunately, the moment has Hank Steinbrenner at an ebb in his public excitement over acquiring Johan Santana. Given his previous behavior with Alex Rodriguez and the Winter Meetings ultimatum about the deadline for Santana, one can only characterize the elder Steinbrenner brother's statements as ebbs and flows.
Here are some of the money quotes with bold-facing provided by me.
The source said the Mets are still in negotiations with the Twins, but Minnesota hasn't told them a package of prospects including outfielders Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez, and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra would seal the deal for Santana.
A report in yesterday's Minneapolis Star-Tribune suggested that the Mets needed only to include Martinez to complete a deal for Santana. Two people familiar with the situation said yesterday that is not the case.
Don't count out the Yankees. Though their offer has been off the table since the winter meetings, it can be quickly revived, according to sources. The Yankees are hoping Joba Chamberlain blossoms into a No. 1 starter, and that could happen as fast as Chamberlain's meteoric rise through the system this past season.
Steinbrenner, the club's top-ranking executive, said he did not want the Twins to think the Yankees were completely out of the picture, but he said their offer of four players, including Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera, was no longer available for the taking.
"I think they like our offer best," he said. "But that offer isn't on the table, where it's up to them to take it. It's up to what we want to do."