Listen to all of the MLB hot stove rumors leading up to Thursday's MLB trade deadline (3 p.m., Central), and it seems like almost a forgone conclusion that Alex Rios will be on the move less than a year after the Texas Rangers acquired him from the White Sox in a post-deadline waiver deal.
Rios is one of the highlights of a pretty weak hitter's market and would provide an upgrade to several contenders with the Kansas City Royals and namely the Cincinnati Reds among teams that are reportedly interested in the right fielder. He also has an affordable $13.5 million option for 2015 that makes him even more appealing to interested teams due to the fact he can be controlled beyond this season.
But that's also one of a few reasons why the Rangers might decide to hold on to Rios. As we know, the Rangers are fully intent on being contenders again in 2015 when they hope to have their planned lineup back that was ravaged by injuries this season, including several season-ending ones.
Who's going to play right field for the Rangers next year if not Rios, who has been the Rangers' second-best offensive player this year behind Adrian Beltre? How do you feel about a platoon of Mitch Moreland and Michael Choice? Or worse yet, one of them exclusively? Not good? Didn't think so.
Also, just how great is Rios' value, in the first place? Sure, he's hitting .301 this season, but his on-base percentage is a mediocre .329 and most glaringly, he has just four home runs — well below pace for his career average. Rios had 13 home runs in 2011, which currently is his career low for a full season, and at this point, he'd need a sudden power surge to reach that this year. After stealing 42 bases last season, he has just 16 this year.
In other words, Rios might not be as big a trade chip as we all think, and remember, the Rangers got him last year for Leury Garcia — far from elite return to the White Sox. He could mean much more to the Rangers in 2015 than he'd mean to an interested team this year, and that's something Jon Daniels has to consider in the next couple of days.
Chances are, Rios is in a different uniform come Friday, but not everything works out to plan, just ask the 2014 Rangers.