As the Texas Rangers were staying afloat earlier this season despite a laundry list of injuries, it became abundantly clear that they would be picking up their club option on Alex Rios, who was the Rangers' best offensive player through the first month or two of the season.
But since that time, things have quickly plummeted for Rios, who had a sudden, drastic power outage this season, hitting just four home runs in 131 games after hitting 18 a year ago and topping 20 the year before that.
So now the Rangers have a decision to make on Rios, who hasn't played a game since Sept. 4 while he's been nursing a nagging injury. At this point, it seems unlikely he'll play again, meaning he'll end his season with a .280 average, a yucky .311 on-base percentage, 30 doubles, 54 RBIs and eight triples — his last coming on June 9, when he led the league in the category.
Basically, if you want to call this a contract year for Rios, he isn't doing himself any favors.
But who's going to play right field for the Rangers in 2015 if it's not Rios? Michael Choice? That's a scary thought. Cuban defector Yismani Tomas? You have to compete with every other club for his services. Rios would give you a proven veteran and you could hope the power outage was a weird anomaly this season.
But taking a risk for a $13.5 million option when you could easily buy it out for $1 million? That's a risk in itself.
Not real sure what the Rangers are going to do in right field next season. It could be playing Shin-Soo Choo in his more natural position and finding a new left fielder, but the more time passes, the more it seems Rios' days as a Ranger are finished.