The MLB trade deadline is always guaranteed to provide some excitement.
With the new collective bargaining agreement in the league, you're seeing fewer and fewer big-name players hit the open market. Small-market teams are able to sign young players to team-friendly deals that extend through their stars' prime years.
The trade market is becoming the place if you want to acquire proven talent.
With the July 31 non-waiver deadline rapidly approaching, fans are sure to see some major action in the coming days. Here are updates on three players who could be moving before the deadline.
The Marlins Actually Want to Hang Onto a Young Star?
Are you sitting down? This could be shocking news. The Miami Marlins are prepared to keep one of their best players despite interest from other teams. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates have pursued Giancarlo Stanton, only to be rebuffed by the Marlins.
2013 hasn't been kind to Stanton. Injuries have limited him to just 58 games. In those 58 games, his numbers have failed to match what was his massive 2012 season.
Stanton's batting average is down 50 points, and his slugging percentage is down 156 points. He's also only got 11 home runs, which are coming at a lower frequency than they were in 2011 and 2012.
Only 23 years old, Stanton is still one of the most talented young sluggers in baseball. Players like these aren't made available very often, so you know that if the Marlins do put Stanton on the block, they'll get a heavy return.
At the moment, it probably makes much more sense for Miami to wait until at least the offseason.
Royals Sticking on Price for Ervin Santana
The trade that sent Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers from the Chicago Cubs set the bar for any deadline deal involving a starting pitcher. If any team wants Ervin Santana from the Kansas City Royals, it will have to raise that bar, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Santana's contract is up at the end of the season, so Rosenthal points out that teams will be wary to trade much for a player who is likely to only stay until the offseason.
As we saw with Garza, most teams unwilling to overpay for rentals. #Royals deep in internal options to replace Santana, though none as good— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2013
The 30-year-old starter is having one of the best seasons of his career. His 3.06 ERA and runs allowed per nine innings of 3.45 are both the lowest he's posted.
Although the Royals are 48-51, they have the 11th-best earned run average in the majors. Santana is a large part of that.
Kansas City has yet to go into major "seller" mode and appear content to keep Santana and finish above .500 this season.
Rangers Looking at Michael Young Reunion
Desperate teams can do some desperate things sometimes. For instance, look at the Texas Rangers. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported Jon Daniels could be looking to bring Michael Young back to Arlington:
The Rangers are focused on outfielders at the moment, but they've talked at least internally about the possibility of trying to bring back former Rangers star Michael Young, according to sources.
Young and Rangers manager Ron Washington have a very close relationship, and Young, who's playing third base for the fading Phillies, is very popular in the clubhouse and with fans. He seemed to agonize before accepting the offseason trade to Philadelphia from Texas this winter. He received a full no-trade as part of that deal, but with the Phillies seemingly in freefall and all his ties to the Rangers, there's no reason to think that should be an issue.
Young is definitely a great clubhouse guy and well-liked by Rangers fans. As a locker room guy, you'd love to have Young. In terms of his on-field performance, it's probably best to shy away.
Defensively, Young is a mess. While never a tremendous defensive shortstop/second baseman, the 36-year-old has really fallen off over the years. The best place for him would probably be designated hitter.
That would cause a problem because you're putting a guy at DH who is not much of a hitter anymore. Young can hit for average, but that's not what you're looking for in a DH. He hit eight home runs last year and drove in 67 runs. This year, Young has seven homers and 31 runs batted in.
It might be better if the Rangers focused on other alternatives before the trade deadline.