Greetings from Nashville
Hi all. I’m here at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for the start of the Winter Meetings. It’s all Johan Santana all the time, as everyone is wondering whether the Twins will accept A) Boston’s offer; B) New York’s offer; C) None of the above.
Hank Steinbrenner certainly made his feelings known yesterday and has given the Twins a deadline of the end of today. We’ll see if that deadline is real or artificial.
At around 3:20 eastern time, a few Boston writers — including yours truly — bumped into Theo Epstein. Disappointingly for all you folks out there looking for some hot news, Theo said that things were quiet right now. Of course, we all know that can change in a heartbeat.
I bumped into Twins closer Joe Nathan earlier today, who stopped by because he lives in Nashville.
Joe had some interesting things to say about his teammate:
“Obviously I’m paying attention and seeing what’s going
on. Fortunately for me, it’s nothing I have to make a decision on. The Twins
definitely have a tough decision. The one good thing is if they don’t decide to
do anything, worst case scenario, we’ve got Johan Santana from day one. It’s a
situation where if they do decide to do something, more than likely, they’re
going to bring some guys over with some talent that will help us out in the ’08
season. either way, I think we’re in a good situation.”
“Any time you lose a pitcher, if we did lose a pitcher
like Johan, on and off the field, he’s a special person. Great guy to have,
obviously when he’s on the mound. When he’s off the mound, he’s the kind of guy
who keeps you relaxed, keeps you upbeat.”
Possibility of Johan going to Boston or New York: “Obviously
those are the teams that are throwing around some pretty big names to try to
get him. Boston and New York, who are usually in the mix to get
these types of players. They have players who can make the trade look
interesting. We’ll see what happens. It’s obviously a situation where if Johan
goes to Boston,
that starting rotation is going to be pretty tough to beat. Same thing goes in New York. He’s going to
improve a starting rotation, with that offensive lineup they have in New York, you put him in
that rotation and he’ll be pretty much impossible to beat when the Yankees are
putting up close to double digit numbers.”
Pitching in a bigger
market, “I don’t think he would treat it any differently. Once he steps between
the lines, whether there’s 50,000 people in the stands or 20, he doesn’t treat
it any differently. He won’t try any harder or any less.”
In other news, I saw Jerome "The Bus" Bettis roaming the lobby. You just never know who you’ll bump into at the Winter Meetings.
Rob Bradford from the Boston Herald got an interesting nugget on his bradfordfiles blog today. Bob Watson said that Terry Francona will have to wear his uniform next season, and not under the pullover he wears.
“There’s going to be, for lack of a better term, a ‘Francona Rule," Watson told Bradford. “You can only wear your uniform top or jacket. You
can’t wear your night-shirt, or whatever it is. You can wear it before
games, or after games, but not during games. You have to have your
uniform top at all times.”
Watson also told Bradford that teams haven’t been notified of the new policy yet.
“They will be informed. There will be no doubt.”
For what it’s worth, the Mariners are out of the Santana sweepstakes. Then again, were they ever really in it?
In other news, I had an outstanding sushi lunch today. Just thought you’d want to know. Who would have thought you could find such good sushi in Nashville.
**** Williams, the manager of Boston’s Impossible Dream Team, has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Good for Williams. It’s well deserved and probably long overdue.
The Boston writers are expected to meet formally Epstein at about 6:30 Eastern time. I’ll let you know what comes out of that.
Until then, hasta la vista!