There isn't much time until Wednesday's Major League Baseball trade deadline hits, and as expected, the chatter on some of the game's bigger names is starting to become louder.
Several premium pitchers are reportedly on the trading block, including Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals starter Ervin Santana and Chicago White Sox hurler Jake Peavy. If the latest rumors hold true, it looks like two are set to depart while one will stay.
Below is a closer look at the latest on Lee, Santana and Peavy as the window to get deals done continues to close.
Multiple Suitors Making Offers for Cliff Lee
The former American League Cy Young Award winner is being highly coveted by what seems like a plethora of teams, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Lee was scratched from his start on Saturday, though, with what a teammate described as a legitimately stiff neck, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
One #Phillies player says of Cliff Lee’s stiff neck: “Totally legit.” In other words, not scratched from tomorrow’s start due to trade.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2013
It remains to be seen how that might affect Lee's trade value. However, it shouldn't, because although Lee comes with a sizable price tag, he's still an ace who has three years left on his contract.
Not only can Lee help out a contender now—he could also be a team's top pitcher for the next two seasons if he remains healthy.
Philadelphia is in the midst of a six-game slide and is nine games behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League East lead. Selling high on Lee at this point would be wise.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Phillies had reached a contract agreement with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez that could be for as much as $59 million over six years. That's another signal that Lee's time in Philadelphia may be imminently ending.
In 2013, Lee has compiled a 10-4 record with a 3.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.01 that ranks seventh in MLB.
Ervin Santana to Stay Put in K.C.?
Apparently, the Royals aren't keen on giving up Santana—and won't do so without getting a substantial amount of assets in return.
One Kansas City official made it rather clear to the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton that the club won't trade Santana, even going so far as to invoke The Godfather in an interesting way:
re: rumors on #Royals RHP Ervin Santana. Told by one club official, "we're not trading him unless we're offered something we can't refuse."— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) July 26, 2013
The four-year, $30 million deal Santana is currently locked in expires after this season, making him an unrestricted free agent this coming winter. If the Royals aren't willing to trade him, they must feel at least somewhat confident that they can sign Santana to a long-term deal.
If not, though, it's possible Santana will flee K.C. without the Royals getting anything in return. Santana is 30 years old and has plenty left in the tank, so his value extends beyond this trade window.
Though Santana sports a modest 6-6 record, it's been more due to a lack of run support than anything. His ERA is 3.06—a career best if it stands—and since Santana has had three seasons of at least 16 wins in the past, there's plenty of reason to believe he could help a team's fortunes in the playoff chase.
Market for Jake Peavy Is Strong
Which pitcher would be the best bargain?
The AL Central cellar-dwelling White Sox can start building for the future by getting valuable commodities in return for their best starting pitcher.
10 teams attended Peavy's last start against the Detroit Tigers, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach (per his colleague, Scott Merkin). It wasn't the most stellar outing for him, yet the team that he pitched against previously and beat has emerged as a possible destination.
The Atlanta Braves are joining in on the action to chase Peavy, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who also notes that the Red Sox, Athletics and Cardinals are the top contenders vying for the right-handed pitcher.
Peavy does sport a slightly discouraging 4.28 ERA, but eight of his 13 starts have been quality appearances and he's 8-4 on the season. Plus, he was an All-Star as recently as 2012 and was the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner.
In a new environment with a possible World Series contender, it's feasible that Peavy could pitch the best he has all season with that change of pace.
Note: Contract information is courtesy of Spotrac.com.