BOSTON (AP) -Theo Epstein won't talk publicly about Johan Santana, even though the Boston Red Sox appear to be trying to add the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner to their already strong rotation.
``There are a lot of interesting names held out there on the trade market and whether those names are moved remains to be seen,'' the Red Sox general manager said Friday during a conference call.
Epstein plans to focus on improving the team's bench and bullpen in the coming weeks.
``That doesn't mean we're going to look past an opportunity to get better,'' he said in response to a question about possible trades.
The Red Sox and New York Yankees are trying to acquire the Minnesota Twins left-hander, with Boston willing to offer a package of players that might include left-hander Jon Lester - the World Series Game 4 winner - right-hander Clay Buchholz or center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
One possible scenario has the Red Sox shipping veteran center fielder Coco Crisp and one of the pitchers to the Twins.
Crisp was benched in favor of Ellsbury during the World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Epstein acknowledged Crisp hasn't hit as well in his two seasons in Boston as he did in his prior two years in Cleveland - .268 last season compared with .300 in his last year with the Indians. But Epstein still considers Crisp to be ``one of the best center fielders in the league.''
``I think we're very lucky to have two very good center fielders on the roster, and they're not mutually exclusive,'' Epstein said. ``There can be roles for both guys on the club, and even a little competition in spring training.''
Epstein also said the team was amenable to re-signing free agent reliever Mike Timlin and outfielder Bobby Kielty, who hit the home run that turned out be the margin of difference in Game 4 of the World Series.
The team also hopes to sign manager Terry Francona to a contract extension before spring training, Epstein said.
``It's safe to say we're in a little bit better position this year, where we don't have to delve into free agency to fill holes,'' Epstein said.
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