Hot Stove: Search for arms heats up
Yanks renew Santana talks; Prior, Benson garnering interest
Just when it seemed as if left-hander Johan Santana might be staying in Minnesota after all, talks with the Yankees were heating up again this weekend.Meanwhile, in Arizona, the Diamondbacks kissed goodbye to one of their core veterans -- Tony Clark -- and agreed on a contract extension with Bob Melvin, the 2007 National League Manager of the Year, through 2010. Plus, Mark Prior, who didn't pitch at all for the Cubs last season after shoulder surgery and wasn't tendered a contract, is suddenly a hot prospect again as the free-agent market begins to thin out. And old favorite Kris Benson is having a tryout in Phoenix to show that he can still throw the ball after he also missed the 2007 season recovering from surgery. All this and more is sizzling on the Hot Stove League grill ... Santana: The Yankees never leave well enough alone, and they're back at it again with the Twins about Santana. Remember when they told Alex Rodriguez he wasn't coming back? Remember when they set a firm deadline to deal for Santana? Yeah, right. It's an age-old negotiating ploy that may have worked with A-Rod, but it certainly isn't going to budge the Twins, who still want two among this trio of New York's brightest young pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phillip Hughes. "I am not giving up two of the three," Hank Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "That's not going to happen." So it means the Yankees are right back to square one. How about this progressive thought? Take Hughes and Kennedy and put them in the rotation behind Chen-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. Leave Chamberlain in the role he was so successful at late last season -- setting up for Mariano Rivera -- then let it rip. By the way, Johnny Damon told the Post that Pettitte admitting he took human growth hormone as revealed in the Mitchell Report won't be a distraction to the Yankees next season. "I don't think so. Players know how to deal with anything," Damon said. "Andy is a teammate, and I hope he wins 20 games for us." D-backs: Don't cry for me, Arizona, is what Clark told MLB.com this weekend when he revealed that a contract offer for the veteran free agent was swiped off the table after last week's flurry of trades that filled up all the 40-man roster slots -- at least for now.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.