Are Alex Rios and Alfonso Soriano Now Leading Trade Deadline Hitting Candidates?

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJuly 9, 2013

CHICAGO, IL- JULY 9:   Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs (L) and catcher Chris Iannetta #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim watch Soriano's solo home run during the first inning  at Wrigley Field on July 9, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, and Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rios could be the best bats up for sale.

The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are both looking to sell, and their best trade chips are Soriano and Rios, respectively.

Soriano has said that he would waive his no-trade clause if a contender inquires about him, according to CSN Chicago. Rios, on the other hand, was not one of the two players the White Sox are looking to hold onto, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

These two outfielders have had very successful seasons and will be drawing interest from just about every contender.

Let's take a look at the two side-by-side this year:

Player BA HR RBI SLG OPS Money owed in 2013
Alex Rios .267 11 38 .432 .754 $12.5 million
Alfonso Soriano .266 15 47 .480 .774 $18 million

Both players have been highly successful this season, but they have been even hotter than usual of late.

Rios became the first player in history to record four hits off Justin Verlander, going 6-for-6 on Tuesday night.

Soriano, on the other hand, has been on a tear recently, batting .381 with six homers and 15 RBI in his last 10 games and smacking 20 extra-base hits in his last 30 games.

The one thing holding back a blockbuster deal is the price tag on each guy's head. These two have hefty contracts that would eat up a ton of payroll, and not many teams have $18 million lying around.

Rios and Soriano have become elite trade chips, but are they the best?

The short answer: No.

Chase Utley has also been rumored by Heyman to be on the trading block, and he has been even better than Rios and Soriano, batting .276 with 11 dingers. He's also slugging .504 with an OPS of .843, both of which lead the three.

To be fair, Utley is also owed $15 million in 2013, which could be a problem. However, if the Philadelphia Phillies are willing to eat up half of that sum, Utley could be gone.

If teams are looking for a cheaper option, then Rios and Soriano might not even be the best trade chips at their own positions.

Nate Schierholtz has also been rumored to be on the block (Buster Olney of ESPN, subscription required), bringing his .273 batting average, 11 home runs, .510 slugging percentage and .834 OPS with him.

What's more, Schierholtz wouldn't cost nearly as much as the other three. He is only owed $2.25 million in 2013.

While Rios and Soriano are worthy trade chips, they are not the best available. Whether teams are looking for a cheap option like Schierholtz or a veteran like Utley, Rios and Soriano aren't the top options.