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Hound Doggin' It About the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings are now officially underway in Music City and if I remember correctly, the last couple of years nothing major happened at the Winter Meetings even though it was expected that something would. Although it was a place where the groundwork was often laid down for something to happen. Usually right around the middle of December seems to be when the A's actually act on what they intend to do.

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Santana and Cabrera both get dealt in the next few days. The Twins are being offered some pretty damn good packages despite the fact that the team getting Santana will be taking the risk that they'll only be getting him for one year. And yeah, that's probably why we're only seeing teams chasing Santana that can actually afford to sign him long-term. But remember, no one is going to be forcing Santana to re-sign wherever he ends up. He could potentially decide that he wants to go to free agency which could be a very smart move, especially if the Red Sox wind up with him and the Yankees want to turn the tables on the Beantowners.

Any way, I do think it's going to take Santana being dealt for the A's to figure out who is willing to pony up the most. Jayson Stark puts it simply in his latest column:

Neither Haren nor Blanton can be a free agent until 2010. And Haren's contract, in particular, makes him so affordable ($16.25 million for the next three years, including his 2010 option), GM Billy Beane sees no reason he shouldn't ask for a Santana-esque return.

If you believe the scuttlebutt, he asked the Yankees for two of their big three -- Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy -- plus at least one more player. Same with the Red Sox, who supposedly were asked for two of their three usual suspects -- Buchholz, Lester and Ellsbury -- plus more. The Mets reportedly were asked for both Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez. Etc., etc.

That price tag has inspired a lot of muttering so far. But those shoppers keep coming back for another look, so Beane is holding his ground.

And Beane should very well hold his ground. I mean, Haren is younger than Santana and he's more affordable for more years. But we've already talked about that. Ultimately it should be an interesting few days, but I'm not anticipating anything happening. If the A's do something it probably won't happen until after Santana is gone and possibly even later into the Winter. Although the Angels could very well be getting Cabrera any day now which could radically shift what the A's are doing (Beane admitted to that line of thinking in a recent article on SFGate). So it's definitely going to be a fascinating few days. We'll see if it's all speculation like the last few years or if the bombshells like Hudson and Mulder being traded happen again. I don't really want Haren to be dealt as I feel like talents like Dan's don't come around very often and the chances of catching that kind of player again are slim. But I wouldn't mind seeing Blanton dealt or even Street.