The eggnog is chilled, the presents are under the tree and the carolers are at the doorstop as we bring you this edition of the Hot Stove Report.
The Canadian left-hander will probably be an Oriole on Opening Day, new team president Andy MacPhail told The Baltimore Sun, adding that he's through listening to trade proposals, at least for now.
"It's up to [manager] Dave Trembley in the final analysis to set his rotation, but that's [where Bedard] is today, and I think that's a strong likelihood," MacPhail said. "But, that said, you never know."
With less than eight weeks to go before the start of Spring Training, Bedard remains an Oriole and Santana is still with the Twins, plus Mark Prior, Kris Benson, Bartolo Colon and Livan Hernandez remain free agents.
Here's Trembley on the matter: "My feelings about Erik Bedard have been that he's a legitimate No. 1 starter. I've felt all along that if he was going to be moved, it was going to have to come with a very big return."
The Reds and Mariners have been the hottest pursuers, but those talks have cooled off of late, what with Seattle signing Carlos Silva and the Reds obtaining two pitchers -- Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera -- for Hamilton.
As MacPhail hypothesizes, Bedard may very well remain in Baltimore.
Texas picked up the outfielder and cleanup hitter it was looking for in Hamilton, and now the club is setting its sights on the much-traveled lefty reliever Eddie Guardado, who's also a free agent.
"We're fairly close," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about signing Guardado, a two-time All-Star during his 11 years with the Twins. "We could get something done soon."
Guardado, 37, had left elbow surgery in 2006 and pitched sparingly for Cincinnati at the end of 2007.
Daniels is also fishing the market for starting pitching, eyeing Colon and Jason Jennings, who are coming off major injuries. They've also considered free-agent left-handers Mark Hendrickson and Mike Maroth, as well as right-hander Josh Towers, among others.
"As we sit here today, we're going to have some competition internally," Daniels told MLB.com. "We may bring in somebody to compete for that spot, but I'm comfortable with the young pitchers that we have competing for that spot."
About adding Hamilton, who has had well-publicized substance-abuse problems, to an outfield that already includes the problematic Milton Bradley, Daniels said:
"Obviously, we've done as much homework on this guy as we ever had on anybody. We feel very comfortable about where Josh has been and that he'll be a big part of our team, both on and off the field. He has been through a lot over the past few years, and we feel he's over the hump."
As far as Santana moving into Yankees pinstripes anytime soon, Newsday quoted sources saying that it won't be happening before Christmas.
"I don't see it happening with us," the Yankees source said. "We pulled out in Nashville, and we haven't put an offer back on the table."
Meanwhile, Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner was not quite as adamant that the Yankees are unlikely to acquire the Minnesota left-hander.
"You never know," Steinbrenner told Newsday on the phone.
The Twins reportedly want two of the Yankees' top three young pitchers -- Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy or Joba Chamberlain -- plus center fielder Melky Cabrera, thus stripping the organization of its youth. Steinbrenner has said the Yankees are not moving Chamberlain and that he will only deal either Hughes or Kennedy.
Of course, the defending World Series champion Red Sox are still lurking with a package of their own, although Boston hardly needs to shore up its starting staff like the Yankees do. For the Red Sox, Santana would be window dressing, considering that they already have a full, stellar rotation. For the Yankees, he's almost a must, considering that Mike Mussina, who struggled mightily down the stretch in 2007, is still considered one of their top three starters.
But Yankees fans shouldn't get their hopes up, said the cagey Steinbrenner.
"I don't think anything will happen, but if it does, it does. Everything's quiet, except trying to get ready for Christmas."