Steinbrenner Alex Rodriguez Untouchable

Steinbrenner Alex Rodriguez Untouchable, With all the parties descending upon the winter meetings, the Red Sox upped the ante in the Johan Santana sweepstakes Sunday by offering to include previously untouchable rookie center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in a deal for the Twins' premier lefthander.

At the same time, a "very irritated" Hank Steinbrenner said he's had enough of the Santana sweepstakes and wants it resolved Monday.

It was unclear if Ellsbury's inclusion still would be enough enticement for the Twins - especially since the Red Sox further revised their offer by saying that neither of their two coveted young pitchers, Clay Buchholz or Jon Lester, would be included with Ellsbury. And if the Red Sox's new proposal was designed to force the Yankees' hand in including Ian Kennedy in their own offer, it wasn't going to succeed.

Steinbrenner said Sunday night that the Yankees' offer of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and another prospect was not going to change.
"We're not going to be used here," Steinbrenner said. "We feel we have made a very fair offer - the offer the Twins asked us to make. It's not going to change. If we don't get (Santana), we don't get him."

Steinbrenner went on to say that he wants a resolution to this today.
"(GM) Brian (Cashman) has conveyed to them that the owner is getting very irritated," he said.
In their preliminary discussions with both the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Twins said they had to get two of those teams' three top young players. In the Yankees' case, that meant Hughes, Kennedy and Cabrera, and from the Red Sox, that meant Ellsbury, Lester and Buchholz.
The Yankees on Friday agreed to center their deal around Hughes and Cabrera and assumed that had met the Twins' demands. But while the Yanks were waiting yesterday for a response from Minnesota GM Bill Smith, the Red Sox - who had previously offered Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, and another pitching prospect - pulled their Ellsbury-for-Lester switcheroo.
"They're just going to see now who the Twins like better, Ellsbury or Hughes," a source familiar with the Red Sox said.

From their standpoint, the Yankees have remained steadfast in their refusal to add Kennedy to the package. It's been their view that Hughes and Cabrera are a big enough sacrifice when on top of that they would have to negotiate a six-year contract with Santana worth over $100 million.
If the Twins are unable to agree on a trade with either team, they also could try to deal Santana later this winter, or perhaps even start the season with him and try to move him at the deadline in July.

The only potential catch to those scenarios is Santana himself. With a full no-trade clause, Santana can ultimately decide where he's going - or if he's going anywhere at all.
According to a source, Santana is urging the Twins to get a deal done, telling Minnesota that he won't approve a deal to any team other than the Yankees or Red Sox.
In addition, Santana has no plans to allow the Twins to shop him at the trade deadline, since he would be just two months away from free agency at that point. That would leave the Twins with nothing more than a compensatory draft pick to show for the loss of Santana.
Once a deal is struck, the team that lands Santana likely would receive a 72-hour window to negotiate the new contract with the lefty.

If the Yankees are unable to land Santana, they could pursue Oakland's Dan Haren, though A's GM Billy Beane is said to be asking more for Haren than the Twins are for Santana.
Milwaukee also is shopping starting pitching, according to a source, possibly putting righthander Ben Sheets on the block this week. The source said the Brewers would prefer to deal Chris Capuano, who is eligible for arbitration, though Sheets is slated to make $11 million in the final year of a four-year, $38.5 million deal.