This is not about the Red Sox keeping Santana away from the Yankees or making the Yankees drive up the price. I know a few Red Sox people. Boston trains in Fort Myers where the Twins are and I bump into their people all the time. I met GM Theo Epstein and assistant GM Jed Hoyer at the winter meetings when they were just wandering around the hotel with nothing to do. I’ve had no choice but to talk about, `The Nation.’ The Red Sox want to dominate. They want to build a dynasty in the AL East and keep the Yankees reeling for as many years as they can. A rotation of Josh Beckett, Santana, Dice-K and Schilling with Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz also in play helps them achieve their domination goals.
— La Velle Neal, answering some questions from his readers.
Neal is quickly gaining my respect as one of the better baseball writers out there. He has the sources, and he’s good about delineating his speculation from his reporting. It helps that he stands out from the ESPN crowd by articulating what I’ve been saying for a month — the Red Sox have legitimate reasons to acquire Johan Santana completely unrelated to the Yankees.
I still think he’ll end up with the Red Sox, and I don’t mind either package. I will say this: Some Twins people like Coco Crip and feel he can get back to his game if gets out of Boston. I think that’s possible, but Ellsbury could be very good. He had a .389 OBP throughout his minor league career and the Twins have watched him develop while facing their teams in the Gulf Coast League, Eastern League and Internatonal League. They know what they’re getting.
The Yankees have no shot if Hughes (a super stud of a prospect) isn’t in the deal.
Before I’d say yes to Theo, I would call the Angels and Dodgers one last time.
Let’s finish it, already.