Sox's options don't end with Meetings

Sox's options don't end with Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Red Sox departed the Music City without any new additions, but with at least some hope of landing the most dominant pitcher on the trade market.

If the Twins wind up dealing the great Johan Santana, Boston still seems to be the likeliest destination. The Yankees say they are out of it, and it doesn't seem as if any other teams have truly jumped into it.

The Red Sox have made their offers, and they'll patiently await a response from the Twins, whenever that might be.

"I think both sides agreed just to have an open dialogue going forward," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "I don't see any need at this time to put on a deadline or an ultimatum of any kind. I respect the position they're in. They have a lot of big issues facing them, and we'll be there to talk."

This marked the first Winter Meetings under Epstein's watch that the Red Sox didn't make any type of player acquisition.

"I thought we'd end up being more engaged with other clubs in trade discussions," Epstein said. "For whatever reason, we didn't get that far down the road on a lot of potential deals. It's just one of those things."

Aside from his club's ongoing pursuit of Santana, Epstein's main objectives this offseason involve improving the bench and the bullpen.

"We got a lot of information," Epstein said. "We ruled some things out. We ruled some things in that we'd like to continue to pursue."

The Red Sox are also dangling right-handed swingman Julian Tavarez in trade talks and are likely to move him at some point. Given the emergence of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston also figures to trade Coco Crisp.

However, Crisp is currently on the table in the main offer to the Twins for Santana, which might keep him in limbo a little longer.

Deals done: Nothing at the Winter Meetings. Earlier in the offseason, the Red Sox re-signed RHP Curt Schilling and 3B Mike Lowell, while picking up the 2008 options on RHP Tim Wakefield and RHP Tavarez.

Winter Meetings

Rule 5 Draft activity: The Red Sox didn't select any players but did lose left-hander Jose Capellan to the Giants and right-hander Lincoln Holdzkom to the Phillies.

Goal accomplished: Emerged as the perceived front-runners to land Santana.

Unfinished business: Santana, Santana and Santana. That will be the story on the mind of every Red Sox fan until the Twins make a decision one way or the other.

GM's bottom line: "We touched base with all the teams and we bounced ideas off of them. We just didn't find a fit that was really worth pursuing." -- Epstein

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.