The focus of the baseball winter shifted to Los Angeles this week, as 25-year-old Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka kicked off a cavalcade of meetings with clubs interested in his services. On the other side of the country, a 35-year-old, two-time Cy Young award winner continued his painstaking recovery from a pair of career-altering shoulder operations.

The Yankees are one of several teams monitoring the progress of former Mets ace Johan Santana, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The person requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation. After missing all of 2013, Santana is still rehabilitating from his second anterior capsule surgery and has yet to pitch off a mound this winter. Santana could audition for scouts near his home in Fort Myers, Fla. before spring training.

A message left for general manager Brian Cashman went unreturned. He likely has more pressing matters to handle. The Yankees were on the list of teams expected to meet with Tanaka and his representative, Casey Close, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, and may have already made their initial pitch.

If the Yankees miss on Tanaka, they still likely require another starting pitcher. Their interest in free agents like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana is limited. They could energize their efforts to flip outfielder Brett Gardner for a starter.

Or the team could dip into the pool of more affordable, less reliable pitchers. Cashman has discussed replicating their strategy from 2011, when Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia shined on small contracts.