Thursday, January 10, 2008

No Jo?

It's Thursday, which means it's about time for Hank Steinbrenner to express another opinion on Johan Santana. After much debate, it appears that Hank and the boys are leaning away from obtaining the prized lefty. This is what Hank told the NY Daily News

"We went into this with me making the final baseball decisions and Hal more addressing the financial aspects of the company, but we both do everything," (Hank) Steinbrenner said yesterday in a phone interview. "We're equal partners, but at this point, to tell you the truth, I'm leaning away from it anyway, so it doesn't matter. Same thing with Brian, he's another integral part of it, obviously, being the general manager, and one day he's leaning to do it and the next day he's not sure.

"But what it comes down to right now is giving up a lot (in a trade) and then having to do the big contract, as well. If (Santana) was just a free agent, we could just go ahead and do it. There's a big difference this way. We have to sign him as if he's a free agent, plus you have to give up major talent. That's a tall order."

"I don't know what he'd even want, or what they'd settle for. I don't know. We obviously haven't talked to him or his agent, so I have no idea," Steinbrenner said. "But a six- or seven-year extension, no, I wouldn't do that."

"I'm growing more and more comfortable with what we have, and the veteran players I've talked to seem to be pretty comfortable with what we have. But we'll see what happens," said Steinbrenner, who reiterated that the plan is to shift Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation. "I'm hoping we'll be set to go (to spring training).

"The big thing, as far as questions, is the bullpen and we'll see how that shakes out, but at this point, I want Chamberlain as a starter and not using someone of his ability in a setup role. We did that last year, but that was different. He was a rookie. But you don't do that.

"Setup guys are important, extremely important, but you have a guy of that ability, who our baseball people think either can be a top starting pitcher or a top closer. It's going to be up to Brian to plug that hole in the bullpen, if there is one, if we're not going to get Santana."

Of course by this time next week Hank may have changed his mind again.

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