A little birdie says the Boston Red Sox have become the favorite in the Johan Santana trade sweepstakes.
The Twins would receive four players for the Twins’ two-time Cy Young Award winner, including center fielder Coco Crisp, 28.
Others would be shortstop prospect Jed Lowry, 23; left-handed pitcher Jon Lester, 23; and right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson, 22.
Before a deal could be made, the Red Sox would have to have time to negotiate a contract extension with Santana, 28, who can become a free agent after next season and could have a market value as high as $150 million over six years. …
The New York Yankees don’t have the prospects available who the Twins figure have a reasonable chance to play in the major leagues by the end of 2008.
Let me say first I fully believe this is a Minnesota leak designed to get the Yankees to budge beyond simply giving up Hughes and Cabrera for Santana.
That said, this deal would make some sense for the Red Sox — it leaves Buchholz, Ellsbury and Bowden untouched, and Lowrie is more expendable with the re-signing of Lowell (though I’d hate to see him go). I think this isn’t bad, though losing two pitching prospects the caliber of Masterson/Lester makes me wince. The prospect of a Santana-Beckett-Matsuzaka-Schilling-Buchholz rotation in September does not.