Winter Meetings: Day 1

A smattering of minor deals took place as the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings got underway in Nashville, TN on Monday. Clubs have begun the process of assessing needs and floating names around in the veritable think-tank that is the Opryland Hotel.

Everyone is talking about Johan Santana, who has generated a not-so-quiet interest among the mainstream coverage. Rumor has the Red Sox stepping up an offer that would include both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester, while the Yankees have set an expiration date on their offer of Melky Cabrera, Philip Hughes and another minor leaguer as yet unnamed. Most experts and executives seem to feel Santana will moved during the meetings. Don’t count out the Los Angeles Dodgers as a dark horse candidate to take home the flame-throwing lefty.

The Braves have been quietly going about their business on Monday. No major moves are projected but an inside source confirmed the team does "have a couple of irons in the fire." Nothing too heavy just pieces that could help round out the club in 2008.

If Washington is particularly interested in Andruw Jones, they have yet to make a formal offer as of Monday afternoon. In fact, the Nationals have been dealing for younger and less expensive outfielder over the past few days. Lastings Milledge joined the club last week and the Nats added troubled Tampa Bay outfielder Elijah Dukes for a player-to-be-named Monday afternoon. Dukes seems to be excited about a fresh start and Washington must feel confident in their abilities to curb the off-field problems Duke has experienced.

Rumors have the Dodgers offering Jones a 2-year deal to become their center fielder. After Torii Hunter’s contract last week, Jones’s agent Scott Boras is still believed to be confident that Jones will command a five-year deal from his next employer.

Andy Pettitte surprised few by accepting his $16 million option to pitch for the Yankees next season. The value of Pettitte in the rotation certainly would be even higher should New York acquire Santana. The Yankees went into the off-season with a great deal of doubt surrounding their immediate future, but Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and now Pettitte have all chosen to return to the Bronx next season.

More later if something arises. So check back frequently,

G-Mc

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