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Scout says Sox don’t have many pieces to deal

Updated: August 10, 2013 6:34AM



The crosstown rivalry always will mean something, but the Cubs’ 8-2 victory Monday that gave them a four-game season sweep of the White Sox was as much about the starting pitchers as the outcome.

Almost a dozen major-league scouts were at U.S. Cellular Field for a kind of two-for-one special. Most were there to look at Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, who is considered the prime starting pitcher available on the trade market. But the Sox are sellers, too, and left-hander Hector Santiago is on the trade radar, as well.

‘‘They’re looking at [Santiago],’’ one scout said. ‘‘He’s been in the bullpen and starting, and he’s young [25] and left-handed.’’

Santiago held his own against the Cubs, allowing two runs and five hits — including a leadoff home run to Alfonso Soriano in the sixth — in 51/3 innings.

But the roof caved in on the Sox during the Cubs’ five-run eighth. The loss went to left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, another player many of the scouts were on hand to watch. He got only one out before walking Soriano, yielding a single to Dioner Navarro, then allowing a tiebreaking two-run double to Luis Valbuena.

Unlike the Cubs, who have multiple players drawing trade attention, the Sox’ cupboard is thin at the major-league level. But Thornton’s stock still might be high despite his subpar effort Monday.

‘‘We were interested in him last year,’’ the scout said. ‘‘He’s the guy [other teams] will watch.’’

Right-handed reliever Jesse Crain will draw interest, too, but he won’t pitch again until after the All-Star break when he returns from the disabled list. The same could hold for right-hander Jake Peavy, who is on the disabled list recovering from a fractured rib.

Still only 31, Peavy could be marketable past the non-waiver deadline July 31. He is under contract through next season and could clear waivers.

‘‘He knows how to pitch, he’s pitched in big games and he’s still young,’’ the scout said. ‘‘And the other thing about him is he is the type of guy who can mentor younger pitchers. Teams look at that. That’s important.’’

Peavy, who won a Cy Young Award with the San Diego Padres in 2007, is a veteran of both leagues now. That makes for a wider field of potential buyers.

Meanwhile, players such as outfielder Dayan Viciedo and shortstop Alexei Ramirez were more marketable in the past, the scout said.

‘‘Viciedo was supposed to be the big thumper, and Ramirez has tailed off a lot [offensively],’’ he said.

Viciedo wasn’t in the lineup Monday. He is in the throes of a slump that has seen him hit .192 in his last 33 games, drive in one run in his last 12 games and hit one home run in his last 44 games.

‘‘Sometimes it’s like he’s trying to hit a five-run homer [in one at-bat],’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He can’t get it all back at once. I think more of a simple
approach would probably help him . . . but sometimes it’s easier said than done.’’

Trade talk dominates the conversations for losing teams.

‘‘It’s tough,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I’ve been there as a player, and it’s not easy. You wear it when you’re here. You wear it when you go home. It’s always on your mind. That’s the toughest part. Even if a guy is
doing well, he’s still wearing it.’’



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