- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees have joined the Mets among the total of eight teams that have expressed interest in Johan Santana for 2014, sources have told ESPN New York.
The talks with all the teams are in the preliminary stages.
Santana, 34, has not pitched in two of the past three seasons because of shoulder surgery. In 2012, he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history before injuring his shoulder again.
According to a baseball official, another of his former teams, the Minnesota Twins, has expressed interest in Santana. The other five teams are the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Like other clubs, the Yankees could possibly offer Santana an incentive-laden non-roster invitee contract. Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, has told teams Santana is interested in signing a contract now if a club separates itself from the pack. If not, Santana is expected to throw in January to showcase himself.
If he is willing to shave his facial hair, the Yankees could be a good match for Santana because they are in need of starters. As it stands right now, they have three starters in CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Joe Girardi confirmed Tuesday that Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren will compete for the fifth spot.
The Yankees would be players for Masahiro Tanaka, if he is posted. At this point, they are not in on the top MLB free-agent pitchers, but could go after someone like Paul Maholm.
Back in 2007, before the Twins traded the lefty to the Mets, the Yankees and Minnesota had talks for Santana. The Yankees were hesitant to give up Phil Hughes in a possible trade. This offseason, Hughes signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins. Santana was not fully keen on the Yankees because he likes facial hair.
It is possible now that Santana could be a replacement for Hughes in the Bronx.