Chicago White Sox center fielder Alex Rios makes a diving attempt on a fly ball hit by Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta that rolled to the wall in the second inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2011 in Detroit. Peralta was credited with a triple that scored Miguel Cabrera from first base. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
After a day of speculating and wondering what might happen between the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, we now have an answer.
Outfielder Alex Rios is now a Ranger, and the Rangers gave up little to get a guy that was one of the top bats on the trade market just two weeks ago.
This is a huge move for the Rangers and general manager Jon Daniels, who just continues to show why he is one of the game's top general managers. By all accounts, the fee for Rios is a player to be named later — most likely middle infield prospect Leury Garcia, who spent 25 games with the Rangers earlier this season when Ian Kinsler was on the disabled list.
The Rangers now have a better-than-average corner outfielder at a reasonable (not cheap) price for the remainder of this season and for all of 2014. The Rangers will also have a club option for 2015 worth $13.5 million or a $1 million buyout.
Rios has his flaws, and there's no question about it. Scouts say he doesn't have desire and drive and can play "lazy." He's having a down year this season, but he has picked it up recently. Also, it's hard to believe the Rangers will tolerate Rios loafing it with the way Ron Washington gets his guys to play. Also, playing for a contender can turn some guys' attitudes around in a hurry.
This season, Rios is hitting .277 with a .328 on-base percentage and .421 slugging percentage with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs in 109 games. He's also stolen 26 bases, giving the Rangers three players (with Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin) with 20-plus steals. He also makes it to where David Murphy doesn't have to play every day. Washington has said Rios will play right field and hit sixth, making it likely that Martin will play center and then there will be a left field platoon of Murphy, Jeff Baker and even Craig Gentry.
The move also gives the Rangers some insurance heading into 2014, but the move is not a back-up plan for replacing Nelson Cruz, who is a free agent this winter, according to Jon Daniels. Imagine a scenario where the Rangers brought back Cruz at a discounted rate (because of his PED tie) and use him exclusively as a designated hitter with Rios having much more ability as a right fielder than Cruz.
Rios has had a lot of success against AL West pitching this season. Here's a look at the numbers by team. Interestingly, the one team in the division he's struggled against this season as been Houston. If he can't hit the Astros' pitching, I think the Rangers will be able to make it up elsewhere.
Oakland Athletics: .292/.346/.458, one homer, three RBIs in six games
Seattle Mariners: .308/.379/.692, three homers, seven RBIs in six games
Los Angeles Angels: .357/.379/.714, two homers, six RBIs in seven games
Houston Astros: .214/.313/.286, zero homers, zero RBIs in four games
This move is a big one for the Rangers, and it's made much bigger when you realize what the Rangers gave up for him, which is a guy that at most is a bench player for the Rangers in the coming years. The asking price for Rios prior to the July 31 trade deadline has been reported to have been one of the three between Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez and Leonys Martin, none of which are worth giving up for Rios. Instead, now the Rangers got their guy for a mid-level middle infield prospect.
This team is all-in to make another run at the World Series after their one-year hiatus, and Friday afternoon proved it.