Royals trade rumors: Kansas City willing to listen on Santana

Ed Zurga

If available, Ervin Santana would become the most sought-after starting pitcher on the trade market.

The Kansas City Royals are willing to listen to offers for starter Ervin Santana and would trade him if presented with the right offer, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton adds that the team's asking price for Santana will be steep.

Santana, 30, is 6-6 with a 3.18 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9 in 19 starts in his first year as a Royal. The former All-Star is a free agent after the season, and will likely receive a multi-year deal in free agency. Kansas City has said all along that they would not entertain offers for Santana, but they have fallen almost completely out of playoff contention and currently sit eight games behind the Tigers in the AL Central.

Now that Santana is available, he is arguably the top pitcher available on an otherwise weak starting pitching market that includes names like Jake Peavy (White Sox), Bud Norris (Astros) and Yovani Gallardo (Brewers). Many teams, including the Red Sox, Athletics, Pirates, Dodgers, Phillies and Giants, are looking to acquire starting pitching at the deadline, and will likely explore the possibility of trading for Santana.

The Red Sox have recently been scouting Royals reliever Luke Hochevar, and might look to acquire both from the Royals for a high-end package of prospects. Kansas City has been linked to Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley, so an Utley-for-Santana deal cannot be completely ruled out.

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