NEW YORK (AP) -The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins have started trade talks involving Johan Santana.
Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Monday that discussions are ongoing but it was too early to tell whether they would lead to a deal. He did not detail how far talks had progressed.
``I don't want to get into that at this point, as far as what they want, what we're willing to give and all that,'' he said. ``It's preliminary right now.''
Santana is eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, and the Twins have been trying to sign the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner to an extension.
Asked whether the Twins had said they would consider a trade, Steinbrenner responded: ``Oh, yeah.''
The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers also are thought to be interested in Santana, who is far better than any of the starting pitchers available on the free-agent market.
Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, has not spoken publicly about his talks with the Twins, who last week lost free-agent center fielder Torii Hunter to the Los Angeles Angels.
Santana, a left-hander who turns 29 in March, has a 93-44 record with a 3.22 ERA in eight major league seasons and is owed $13.25 million next year. Minnesota would want top prospects in any deal and while Steinbrenner previously said he wouldn't trade some of the Yankees' top young pitchers for third baseman Miguel Cabrera, he didn't rule out a deal for a pitcher.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he has received repeated inquiries from teams about Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.
Santana has a no-trade provision in his contract, and a team acquiring him likely would want to discuss an extension. That means if the teams agreed to a trade, there probably would be a 72-hour window to work out a new contract.
After reaching agreements to re-sign Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Jose Molina - deals that are awaiting completion - Steinbrenner said the Yankees have turned their attention to relievers. Cashman has said the team hopes to keep Luis Vizcaino.
``Obviously, I think the big thing for us now is shoring up the bullpen all that we can,'' Steinbrenner said. ``Brian is looking into several different things.''
Steinbrenner said Rodriguez likely will take a physical this week.

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