No Reds trade talk at all from Ken Rosenthal.



The White Sox are interested in Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano, FOXSports.com has learned.

But what is their intent?
While Soriano would represent an upgrade over White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik, the Sox's far greater need is an impact setup man.

What's more, Soriano is a free agent at the end of the season, and Sox officials have adamantly denied that they would trade top prospects for a two-month rental.

The true motive for White Sox G.M. Ken Williams might be drive up the price for the Tigers, who lead the Sox in the A.L. Central by 61/2 games.

Or, Williams might want to acquire Soriano as part of a three-way deal that would bring his team a reliever while keeping Soriano away from the Tigers.


Could Alfonso Soriano be rounding the bases for the White Sox? (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)

The Mariners continue to discuss Soriano with the Nationals, and the Angels and Yankees remain possible darkhorses as they wait for the Nationals' price to drop.

The Nationals, seeking a center fielder, likely want White Sox rookie Brian Anderson. But the Sox, who sent center-field prospect Chris Young to the Diamondbacks in the Javier Vazquez trade, aren't interested in moving Anderson.

Adding Soriano to the majors' highest-scoring offense would seem like overkill, but the lack of quality pitching on the trade market is forcing teams to ponder creative solutions.

The White Sox's pursuit of Soriano might be just that.

Or it might be a strategic smokescreen and nothing more.


GOING, GOING GONZALEZ?
The Rangers are targeting Diamondbacks left fielder Luis Gonzalez, but have yet to make an offer good enough for the D-Backs to ask Gonzalez to waive his no-trade clause.

Gonzalez, 38, would fit for the Rangers as a left-handed hitting outfielder and DH. The Rangers continue to look for pitching, but apparently are confident that the pending returns of right-handers Adam Eaton and Kameron Loe from injuries will bolster their staff.

The Rangers entered Saturday a half-game out of first in the A.L. West while the Diamondbacks were a game back in the N.L. West. But Gonzalez, who played for Rangers manager Buck Showalter in Arizona, might be ready to leave one contender for another, knowing the Diamondbacks are unlikely to exercise his $10 million option for 2007.

Gonzalez was infuriated several weeks back when Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick linked him to steroid rumors. He was rankled again Thursday when the team benched him for rookie Carlos Quentin, who proceeded to hit a home run in his major-league debut.

Before waiving his no-trade clause, Gonzalez likely would want to know more from the Rangers about his role this season and beyond. He could ask for a one-year extension of his contract at a salary lower than his option number.


BRAVES: LOOKING FOR MORE
The Braves' acquisition of closer Bob Wickman didn't end their pursuit of bullpen help. The team would like to acquire another reliever, preferably a left-hander. However, the Braves would settle for a righty who can get lefties out.

The Marlins' Joe Borowski fits that description and so does the Cubs' Scott Williamson, who was traded to the Padres Saturday for two minor leaguers. Left-handed hitters are batting .172 against Williamson, .180 against Borowski.

The Braves asked about Rockies Class AAA lefty Steve Collyer, possibly offering right-hander Jorge Sosa. But the Rockies might need Collyer to replace Ray King, whom they nearly traded last week to the Red Sox for right-hander Julian Tavarez.

The Rockies apparently balked at assuming Tavarez's $3.1 million salary for 2007, plus his $3.85 million club option for '08 that vests with 125 combined appearances in '06 or 65 appearances in '07.


LUGO NEXT FOR JAYS?
The Blue Jays' acquisition of right-handed reliever Jeremy Accardo from the Giants for infielder Shea Hillenbrand and right-handed reliever Vinny Chulk could be the precursor to another deal in which the Jays would obtain Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo.

The Rays continue to seek to add pitching in every trade, and they figure to want at least one decent arm for Lugo, who is a free agent at the end of the season. The arrival of Accardo, 24, could increase the Jays' willingness to part with another young pitcher.

Lugo makes sense for the Jays, who are down a bat after trading Hillenbrand and playing John McDonald, a career utility man, at shortstop. The Mets also have pursued Lugo, but with little fervor; the outstanding play of Jose Valentin has made second base a back-burner issue.

The Rays will be without a shortstop if they trade Lugo. They likely would use B.J. Upton at the position along with Class AAA shortstop Ben Zobrist, whom they acquired from the Astros in the Aubrey Huff trade.


THE ULTIMATE CLIFF-HANGER
As much fun as the trade deadline is for fans, it can be a harrowing time for players. Consider the experience of Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd, who was traded twice in July of 2002.

Floyd learned of the first trade, from the Marlins to the Expos, while watching television in a bar at the team's Chicago hotel.

Shortly before the second trade, from the Expos to the Red Sox, Floyd asked Expos manager Frank Robinson if he was secure enough with the team to leave his hotel for a home he planned to rent in Old Montreal.

Robinson assured Floyd that he was secure, and Floyd and his then-girlfriend spent the next day moving in to their new home.

Floyd was traded to the Red Sox that night.

The general manager who orchestrated both moves?

Omar Minaya, who is now Floyd's G.M. with the Mets.


THIS N' THAT

Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin is telling clubs interested in left fielder Carlos Lee to be prepared with offers if the Brewers fall out of the pennant race. The recent struggles of closer Derrick Turnbow aren't helping the team's chances of retaining Lee, who is a free agent at the end of the season. The Brewers six games back in the wild-card race and last in the N.L. in ERA - are likely to sell.

Diamondbacks scouting director Mike Rizzo is on the verge of becoming the No. 2 man to Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, according to major-league sources. Rizzo's exact title has yet to be determined. While with the Diamondbacks, he was responsible for drafting right-hander Brandon Webb, third baseman Chad Tracy and shortstop Stephen Drew. . . .

It is doubtful the Padres could meet the Mariners' price for third baseman Adrian Beltre if the M's fell out of contention and began listening to offers, major-league sources say. Beltre, though, could be a hot commodity this off-season; in addition to the Padres, the Phillies could be interested in acquiring him in a trade.
Ken Rosenthal is FOXSports.com's senior baseball writer.