The New York Yankees ended their pursuit of Johan Santana yesterday, leaving Boston as the favorite to land the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner.

"A deadline is a deadline," Hank Steinbrenner said. "He's a fine pitcher, but there's a lot of things that go into this. This isn't fantasy baseball."

Steinbrenner, a senior vice president and son of George Steinbrenner, set the deadline Sunday.

Boston has offered the Twins packages built around pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but not both.

If the teams agree to the players, the Red Sox would try to work out a contract extension with Santana, a 28-year-old lefty who is eligible for free agency after the 2008 season.

Noteworthy

* Power-hitting outfielder Jose Guillen and the Kansas City Royals reached a preliminary agreement on a $36 million, 3-year contract, a deal subject to him passing a physical.

* NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres reached a preliminary agreement on a $52 million, 3-year extension through 2012, a deal subject to a physical.

* Reliever Will Ohman and infielder Omar Infante were dealt to Atlanta from the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Jose Ascanio.

* The Yankees reached a tentative agreement to trade Tyler Clippard to the Washington Nationals for Jonathan Albaladejo in an exchange of young pitchers.

* Former Cincinnati pitcher and radio announcer Joe Nuxhall, who died last month, will join Oakland's Bill King and ESPN's Joe Morgan on the ballot for the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award, given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame for excellence in baseball broadcasting. Also on the ballot are Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Dizzy Dean, Tony Kubek, Graham McNamee, Dave Niehaus and Dave Van Horne. The winner will be announced Feb. 19. *