Santana likely a late-winter signing

Free-agent Johan Santana likely will wait until deep into the offseason to sign, when he is most equipped to demonstrate to bidders he is ready to compete from the get-go in 2014.

Santana underwent April 2 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. It marked the second time he underwent that procedure.

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Johan Santana should be a late-winter signing.

Santana became a free agent when the Mets declined a $25 million team option days after the World Series.

The two-time Cy Young winner already has been tossing a baseball on flat ground at 90 feet as he works back from the April procedure. He fully expects to be ready for the 2014 season.

While Santana could jump at an early winter opportunity if a great deal presented itself, the likelihood is he waits until late in the offseason to maximize the list of suitors. He is expected to sign before spring training begins.

The Kansas City Royals are believed to be among the teams expressing early interest in Santana.

Mets officials have indicated they would entertain re-signing Santana if the deal were right -- meaning a low base salary, with incentives based on performance. Still, it does not appear overly likely Santana returns.