MINNEAPOLIS — Royals pitcher Ervin Santana continued to roll with the relentless trade rumors Monday by sending out another round of humorous messages on twitter.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Still @Target of #traderumors, he tweeted. #Pitching at #TargetField tomorrow.
Santana then included a link to a video I made about being a #target. Here it is -- and its worth a look even if youve already seen it.
Its funny stuff but, all indications suggest, Santana is increasingly unlikely to be traded prior to the non-waiver deadline of 3 p.m. Wednesday. One Royals official said, We havent talked about that in days.
What also seems increasingly clear is the Royals, if they do make a move, are looking to bolster their current roster for a stretch run. For the first time in 10 years, they see themselves as potential buyers at the deadline.
The Royals top immediate need is a second baseman who can hit, which is fueling speculation of a possible deal with the Angels, who appear willing to trade Howie Kendrick.
The Angels are seeking a starting pitcher with front-line potential who is under club control for several years.
The Royals have several prospects who fit that profile, including Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer. But club officials are reluctant to trade them.
Further, there is nothing, at this point, to suggest a deal is under serious discussion, let alone close to completion.
Several clubs seeking bullpen help also remain interested in right-hander Luke Hochevar, who is generally viewed as the reliever the Royals are most willing to trade.
Hochevar, 29, is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 33 games in his first season as a reliever, but hes also making $4.56 million and in line for a likely raise through arbitration.
Thats pricey for a middle reliever his role in the Royals bullpen but might be more acceptable to other clubs if used as a closer or even a primary set-up man. Hochevar could also be viewed as a rotation candidate.
Greg Hollands current run of 20 straight successful saves already matches the third-longest, single-season streak in club history but remains far short of Joakim Sorias franchise-record of 36 in 2010.
Jeff Montgomery had a 24-save streak in 1993. He also had a 20-game streak in 1992 that, at the time, matched Dan Quisenberry (1984) for the franchise record.
Holland is 27 for 29 overall and needs just three more saves to become only the fourth different reliever in franchise history to reach 30 saves in a season.
Montgomery and Quisenberry each did it five times, while Soria did it three times. Holland joined those three earlier this month in another career distinction when selected as an All-Star.
Holland needs a dozen more career saves to pass Steve Farr, Mike MacDougal, Roberto Hernandez and Doug Bird for fourth on the clubs career list.
Montgomery is the Royals all-time saves leader with 304. Quisenberry had 238, and Soria had 160.
The Royals promoted two of their top outfield prospects: Jorge Bonifacio from Hi-A Wilmington to Class AA Northwest Arkansas, and Brian Fletcher from Northwest Arkansas to Class AAA Omaha.
Bonifacio, 20, was batting just .250 in 20 games since returning from a broken bone in his hand. Overall, he batted .296 in 54 games at Wilmington with two homers, 29 RBIs and a .368 on-base percentage in 54 games.
Fletcher, 24, was batting .314 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 52 games for Northwest Arkansas. He was also picked Monday as the player of the week in the Texas League.
Fletcher and Northwest Arkansas right-hander Aaron Brooks swept the Texas League player- and pitcher-of-the-week awards for July 22-28.
Two other Royals prospects won the award in their league: Lo-A Lexington right-hander Christian Binford in the South Atlantic League, and short-season Burlington first baseman Sam Bates in the Appalachian League.
Fletcher was 13 for 27 with four homers and nine RBIs in six games. He was the Royals 18th-round pick in 2010. Brooks, 23, threw a nine-inning shutout in his only start. He was a ninth-round pick in 2011.
Binford, 20, won two starts while allowing one run in 12 innings and improving to 7-4 while lowering his ERA to 1.89. He was 30th-round pick in 2011.
Bates, 23, was eight for 21 with two homers and six RBIs in seven games. He was a 28th-round pick in 2012.
It was 42 years ago Tuesday July 30, 1971 that the Royals played the shortest regulation game in franchise history in a 1-0 loss to the Orioles at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
Frank Robinsons two-out homer against Dick Drago in the first inning provided the only run in a game called after 4 1/2 innings. It was the only hit that Drago allowed. Jim Palmer held the Royals to two hits in five innings.
The umpire at third base was Don Denkinger.
To reach Bob Dutton, send email to email@example.com . Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.