The latest trade chatter on the Major League Baseball rumor mill features several notable players who could give a necessary boost to a contender as the 2013 season progresses.
July 31 is the final day for teams to make swaps, so the reports and speculation should only grow as the deadline approaches. All-Star pitcher Ervin Santana of the Kansas City Royals is having a solid campaign, while Marlon Byrd has enjoyed a resurgence and is on pace for a career high in home runs.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs could be moving multiple players in the outfield: left fielder Alfonso Soriano and right fielder Nate Schierholtz.
Below is a closer look at this slate of rumors, with analysis regarding these players and their potential destinations.
Ervin Santana Available—At Right Price
The Royals are willing to listen of offers involving Santana, but the cost incurred by a prospective deal would have to net Kansas City some serious assets.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal cites multiple sources who say a deal could go down, while Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes that the price to pay for the 30-year-old hurler will be steep:
It remains to be seen if a team will be willing to fork over promising prospects for a short-term upgrade to the rotation. A big reason Santana is being dangled is that he'll be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason.
Thus, there isn't a guarantee that any team who acquires him will be able to keep him beyond the end of 2013.
Santana could undoubtedly provide a spark for an organization with playoff aspirations, though. He has had minimal run support, which is partially to blame for his 6-6 record.
But the numbers don't lie, because Santana has a 1.08 WHIP, .231 opponents' batting average, a 3.06 ERA and 107 strikeouts to just 30 walks. If the WHIP and ERA numbers stand, those would be career bests.
Texas Rangers Coveting Marlon Byrd
Although the Rangers are still very much alive in the division chase in the American League West in trailing Oakland by just three games, their season could take a turn for the worse soon.
Concerns that standout slugger Nelson Cruz may be suspended in connection with the Biogenesis controversy have Texas in the market for a potential replacement in right field, according to Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas.
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler has the intel:
Byrd would be a solid replacement and a veteran who could play even better than he has been on a team that has no shot at the postseason.
For what it's worth, the last time Byrd was in Arlington, he had the best year of his career to date in smashing 20 dingers, driving home 89 RBI and hitting 43 doubles.
Veteran Cubs on the Block
As mentioned before, both Soriano and Schierholtz appear to be up for grabs, but it seems that Soriano is the most likely to flee first.
Soriano went as far as making a list of teams he would prefer to be traded to, and the team that he started his career with, the New York Yankees, were one of them. That's all according to a report by Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago.
Levine also points out that Soriano has been with the Cubs for at least five years and has spent at least 10 in the big leagues, giving him the right to veto any trade.
Interest in Soriano has been palpable in the Bronx, as George A. King III of the New York Post reported just days ago that the Yankees and Cubs were close to a deal to arrange for a Soriano homecoming.
That hasn't quite materialized, but it could soon enough.
With regard to Schierholtz, he's already set personal bests in home runs and RBI, and Levine also has the scoop on him.
Ten scouts were in attendance for the Cubs' game Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which went to 12 innings. Schierholtz drove in a career-high five runs and hit the game-winning double to give Chicago a 7-6 victory.
That certainly bodes well for his value on the market at this time, and the NL Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates, per Levine, are reportedly interested in acquiring him.