New York Yankees drop out of trade talks for Minnesota ace Johan Santana Print
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Tuesday, 04 December 2007 17:08
MLB Headline News

 NEW YORK (AP) -Hank Steinbrenner had enough. The New York Yankees ended their pursuit of Johan Santana on Tuesday, leaving Boston as the favorite to land the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner.
``A deadline is a deadline. It was pretty much done as of this morning,'' Steinbrenner said. ``He's a fine pitcher, but there's a lot of things that go into this. This isn't fantasy baseball.''
Steinbrenner, a senior vice president and son of owner George Steinbrenner, set the deadline Sunday, saying he wouldn't allow Minnesota to play the Yankees against the rival Red Sox in trade talks.
New York had proposed pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera. On Monday, the Twins dropped their demand that pitcher Ian Kennedy be included, but the sides couldn't agree on a third player.
``For a while, there's no question, they asked for too much,'' Steinbrenner said. ``To tell you the truth, toward the end, Minnesota negotiated in good faith. They really did. I have no problem with them. It was something we just couldn't do.''
Boston has offered the Twins packages built around pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but not both. The Red Sox become the front-runner to acquire Santana, who would join a rotation that already has Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield.
``You can't worry about that. It's just the way it is. It will be what it is,'' Steinbrenner said. ``Everybody has got to do what they think is best for their own team overall.''
Steinbrenner said the Yankees also had spoken to Oakland general manager Billy Beane, but not recently. The A's are exploring possible trades involving Dan Haren.
``That was preliminary and that was a week ago,'' Steinbrenner said.
Twins general manager Bill Smith wouldn't discuss the talks specifically. He also refused to get into whether he was upset with Steinbrenner's repeated public comments about negotiations. When asked about Steinbrenner, Smith responded with praise for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
``I have the greatest respect for Brian Cashman. He's a gentleman. He's a classy professional in this game,'' Smith said. ``I don't have any problems with the Yankees. They've been good to the Twins. They've been good to the Twins for a lot of years.''
He wouldn't say whether Steinbrenner's remarks were out of place during a negotiation.
``Not my position to judge. I have enough troubles doing my own job,'' he said.
Steinbrenner was pleased that the Yankees retained their four key free agents: third baseman Alex Rodriguez, closer Mariano Rivera, catcher Jorge Posada and pitcher Andy Pettitte.
``We went 4-for-4,'' he said. ``Obviously, I'm really happy about getting the four pieces to the puzzle back.''
New York's current rotation projects to have Chien-Ming Wang, Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, with Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa among those in reserve. While there will be pitch and inning limits on the young pitchers, a six-man rotation isn't planned.
Pettitte's decision last weekend to return was key.
``Personally, it means a lot because I know what Andy is all about,'' new manager Joe Girardi said. ``It gives you a guy that you can pencil in for 32 starts, and you know that he can handle the workload. ... When you have a lot of young pitchers, you have to be a lot more careful about their workload and how many starts and how many innings they throw.''
The 35-year-old left-hander could stay with the Yankees beyond 2008.
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Steinbrenner said the team will turn its attention to the bullpen. At times during the Santana talks, it appeared the Yankees were uncomfortable with trading Hughes. They made Chamberlain untouchable.
``I'm kind of pleased what we've got,'' Steinbrenner said.
Cashman said the Yankees will remain in contact with the other 29 clubs. Well, perhaps 28.
``I don't see us talking to Boston too much,'' he said.
Notes: The Yankees reached a preliminary agreement to trade RHP Tyler Clippard to the Washington Nationals for RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, a deal subject to physicals. ... Girardi said OF-1B Shelley Duncan, who had been bothered by a blood clot in his arm, was improving. ``He's had some circulatory issues, and he is doing better. He'll be evaluated every couple weeks, every month,'' Girardi said. ... Girardi noticed one change in the way he's been treated since he was hired as Yankees manager last month. ``I got Hannah Montana tickets for my daughter, which made big points, big points,'' he said.
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AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
 

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