Heading into the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline, the Texas Rangers were in hot pursuit of an outfield bat, with or without Nelson Cruz.
Now, as it turns out, Cruz is suspended for the remainder of the regular season for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal, and the Rangers' need for another bat seems to have gone up even more.
Though the non-waiver deadline has passed, the Rangers are still one of many teams looking at the waiver wire through the rest of this month, and according to several reports (The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant had it first) the Rangers have won a claim for Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, who was tied to the Rangers leading up to the July 31 deadline.
Turns out, depending on who you listen to, the Rangers didn't have any serious interest in Rios and there was not a lot of progress made in talks as the White Sox were coveting Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez and Leonys Martin, which is just laughable any way you look at it.
Rios is a solid player, but he's not an incredible impact, which is why he wasn't dealt at the deadline.
Rios has 12 homers this year, a low total for him, but has come as of late and he also provides a pretty good base-stealing threat, but he's not worth giving up much for considering he'd stil be owed roughly $17.5 million for the rest of this year and next year.
The Rangers claiming Rios means the teams could work out a trade, the White Sox could just hand him over with nothing in return except salary relief or they could pull him back and he wouldn't be able to be claimed the rest of the season. The latter two seem to be the most likely, with the third option being most likely.
Rios is one of the few players to have been just "let go" when claimed, when the Toronto Blue Jays handed him over to the White Sox. The rule says the claiming team has no option to refuse if that happens. The Morning News' Gerry Fraley suggests that's the final outcome.
But what makes the most sense here is for the White Sox to pull him back and wait until the off-season to try to deal him when they can have an open market instead of dealing exclusively with the Rangers. And maybe that's what the Rangers' front office was thinking all along — just be sure no one other contender claims him.