Rangers Acquire Alex Rios in August Trade

The non-waiver trade deadline was last week, but when it comes to high-priced assets, August is just as good a time to complete a trade as any. The Rangers were willing to pay the price tag on Alex Rios, and nobody with a worse record in the American League felt the same. The reports are that the player to be named later (a quirk of waiver trading) is Leury Garcia, and that’s a price that these Rangers can afford to pay in order to improve their odds of postseason play.

After Nelson Cruz accepted his suspension, the Rangers outfield was suddenly very left-handed. Leonys Martin, David Murphy and now Craig Gentry have been getting most of the playing time — only Gentry is a righty, and all have been platooned so far in their careers.

Enter Alex Rios. The right-handed outfielder has shown scratch offense for his career, but he’s been above average the last two years overall. Despite his offense being 4% better than league average against lefties and just below league average against righties, he probably won’t be platooned. After all, only once in his career has David Murphy managed to be league average against lefties — Rios has spent as many years above average as below against righties.

No, what this trade allows the team to do is platoon in left, and even in center, if they choose. With Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker, they have two right-handed bats on the bench that can play center and left if they choose to continue platooning Murphy and Martin. Since Jurickson Profar is needed on the infield — and the team has been public about ending his outfield work — there was no way this team could align their roster in order to platoon all three outfield positions.

All the Rangers had to do was take on the remaining $17+ million on Rios’ contract — $12.5 million for next year, a $1 million buyout, and the remaining salary for this season — and agree to send a toolsy middle infielder to Chicago. With Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler under team control until 2015, they could afford to send a defensive middle infielder like Garcia packing. Marc Hulet rated Garcia the organization’s 15th-best prospect going into the season, admitting that the player’s prospects might have been higher if the 22-year-old hadn’t been rushed through the minors.

Chicago, now with more room in the wallet, can look past the recent jump in strikeout rates and dream on the possibility of a starting shortstop to take over for Alexei Ramirez if they don’t pick up his 2016 option. Or perhaps he helps elsewhere if the team sees him as an improvement over Conor Gillaspie, Gordon Beckham, or even Alejandro De Aza in center.

Is Rios going to be worth $17 million over the next year-plus? That’s an open question, given the oscillation he’s undergone during his career. In his ‘good’ seasons, Rios combines good numbers at the plate, in the field and on the basepaths to be a three-to-five win player that would easily return a positive return on that sort of investment. This year looks to be one of those years.

But in his bad years, Rios runs into outs on the basepaths, loses it at the plate, and can even be worse than scratch with the glove. Of course, those are the years that his batted ball luck also takes a turn for the worse. Only once (2005) has he had a BABIP over .300 and been worth fewer than two wins overall. Still, Rios was recently benched for not running out a grounder, and Ozzie Guillen once said of him that he “don’t run the bases.”

A twice-claimed contract like this may be rare, and it points to some flaws that are perhaps hidden in the numbers. But now that the Rangers are only on the hook for a year and two months, the stakes are lower. His acquisition improves the Ranger roster, not only in construction, but in production. And it did not come with a prohibitive price — because the price in dollars was high enough to scare off the other suitors. Welcome to August trading.



Print This Post



Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
AJM
Guest
AJM
2 years 10 months ago

Gentry is a RH hitter

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 10 months ago

is says that…

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 10 months ago

crap. it*

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 10 months ago

Ignore the things I’ve said here. Friday afternoon.

Aggie E
Guest
Aggie E
2 years 10 months ago

And Martin has not been getting platooned for a couple of months

Meloirin88
Guest
Meloirin88
2 years 10 months ago

Rangers got hosed.

Hater
Guest
Hater
2 years 10 months ago

I see what you’re doing there…goes pale

Alexander Nevermind
Guest
Alexander Nevermind
2 years 10 months ago

The end of the Joey Butler Era

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 10 months ago

undefeated in the era

Scottttttttt
Guest
Scottttttttt
2 years 10 months ago

Odor may have made me a little more excited, especially with Semien already looking like the replacement to Alexei, but I suppose a prospect is a prospect is a prospect.

MonkeyEpoxy
Guest
MonkeyEpoxy
2 years 10 months ago

Hahn had as much of a chance to get Odor in this trade as I do to have Scarlett Johannsen break into my house and ravage me. Sexually.

Nickname Damur
Guest
Nickname Damur
2 years 10 months ago

That seems a little confusing. Let me translate this into nerdspeak to see if I’ve got the gist:

The intersection with the set of houses into which Scarlett Johannsen has broken into and ravished the occupant and the set of yourself being ravished by Scarlett Johannsen in your house is an empty set, right?

My question is this: did she ravish you at some point when you were not occupying your house? If so, where?

Jay29
Member
Jay29
2 years 10 months ago

Way to kill a joke.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, serious fail.

Oh, Beepy
Guest
Oh, Beepy
2 years 10 months ago

Boo this man!

BookBook
Guest
BookBook
2 years 10 months ago

Chill. It wasn’t such a great joke in the first place that it should be put up on a pedestal.

Alexander Nevermind
Guest
Alexander Nevermind
2 years 10 months ago

The reports of the two teams being nowhere close to a deal seemed to hinge on the Sox wanting Odor. And of course Odor would’ve made you a little more excited. He performed well above league-average as the youngest player in A+ and is off to a strong start in AA.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 10 months ago

Odor stinks….

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
2 years 10 months ago

Bull Durham name reference and a pun. Underrated post.

Hurtlocker
Guest
Hurtlocker
2 years 10 months ago

I had forgotten that Rios got Waived by Toronto.

The TIF
Guest
The TIF
2 years 10 months ago

A lot of players get put on waivers around this time. We just hear about a scant few of them.

Aaron
Member
Aaron
2 years 10 months ago

But we do hear about every single one of them who ends up moving.

How many players have been moved twice in August?

SKob
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Welcome to Chicago Avisail Garcia!

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
2 years 10 months ago

I realize this move was made mostly to clear salary and I was never a huge fan of Rios, but I wish the White Sox could occasionally pick up a prospect who doesn’t strike out four times as often as he walks.

Eminor3rd
Guest
Eminor3rd
2 years 10 months ago

Amen to that. Just once, ever. I would be happy with one.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 10 months ago

The Jays let him go for salary relief. They didn’t send money, so no prospects or players came back to TOR.

Given the way things have gone this season an outfield of Rios, Rasmus and Bautista sounds pretty good…

Eminor3rd
Guest
Eminor3rd
2 years 10 months ago

It was a hell of a lot more salary relief back then

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 10 months ago

I hear you, but my point was somewhat obscure: at least, by giving money, the CWS got someone in return. It’s my fault that my point was obscured.

Assuming that Jose Bautista was (eventually) Rios’ replacement, it’s interesting. VDub had a resurgence in 2010 then was replaced by Colby Rasmus, Bautista came into his own, but the 3rd OF’er has been a problem ever since. Travis Sinder, Eric Thames, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, DeWayne Wise, Anthony Gose, Fred Lewis, Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis, Moises Sierra, Emilio Bonifacio etc., etc., have all had a go at it.

Had they kept Rios instead of dumping him for salary relief (6 yrs/$74 M worth), Bautista could’ve easily played LF and Rios could’ve stayed in RF. He’s been worth about 8.6 WAr with the CWS. Without looking, I daresay that all of those other players didn’t accumulate 8 WAR combined with the Jays.

I thought it was a rash move at the time, and I still think it was. Yes, it was a bad contract but, looking at the problems they’ve experienced since, how much has it cost them to dump him like that?

Damaso's Burnt Shirt
Guest
Damaso's Burnt Shirt
2 years 10 months ago

@ chief00 No way that possibly could ever happen. Rios had pissed off Jays management (and fans) to the point they didn’t care about keeping him even when the White Sox claimed him.

If they had pulled Rios back then the Jays fans would have suffered a lot more than they have had during the worst/tail end of the Riccardi era. They would be howling about letting Jose walk as a Free Agent after his 54 home run season because the jays wouldn’t have afforded him even on a team friendly extension. Also maybe bitching about not being able to land Colby Rasmus due to the fact that AA couldn’t afford to take on $6 mil of Mark Teahan’s salary and stuck with a lousy farm system with worthless “prospects” because they didn’t/wouldn’t go over slot on draft picks.

As opposed to what actually happened leading to the sucky 2012/2013 seasons.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 10 months ago

@Damo: I don’t think I understand, but this is all hypothetical anyways. The reality is that they let him go for salary relief, JP Ricciardi was gone 2 months later, and the Jays started well under AA but have circled the bowl ever since. My comments are a reaction to their recent performance. I’m looking at it from a “What if…?” vantage point in my vain search for an explanation or two.

Damaso's Burnt Shirt
Guest
Damaso's Burnt Shirt
2 years 10 months ago

@ Chief
Based on what we’ve seen of the Jays financial situation during the early AA years, they either have Rasmus and Bautista or Rios. There is no way financially they could have kept Rios and gotten Rasmus and kept Bautista. Unless you get the tight financial restraints the Jays were under, your What If of the Jays having all three makes zero sense.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 10 months ago

@Damo: I agree with you, and am aware of the financial restraints. JPR’s tendency to sign a few guys to huge contracts–notably Delgado, Wells, and Rios–hamstrung the Jays. Apparently he learned very little working under Billy Beane. (I remember a situation similar to the Rios thing happening with Tony Batista in ’01, but that was under Gord Ash.)

Anyways, looking at things in retrospect and asking ‘what if…’ is often nonsensical, don’t you think? As I say, I’m just grasping for explanations.

Ja4ed
Member
2 years 10 months ago

“… dream on the possibility of a starting shortstop to take over for Alexei Ramirez”

You better watch your back. Cistulli might come after you with a bat from his Marcus Semien shrine.

eddiegaedel
Member
eddiegaedel
2 years 10 months ago

Seems like a fair deal?

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 10 months ago

I have to think more than a bit of this deal is for the Rangers to actually have Rios more of less full-time in the outfield next season, a dimension of the deal not particularly developed in the post. I had had the sense that the Rangers were going to let Cruz go, even before the suspension, just like they did Hamilton. Seems even more likely now.

I’ve never been a Rios fan. Still if he brings this year’s numbers to next season, that’s not a bad outcome for Texas on what would amount to a one-year deal to fill a void for 2014. The idea that the Rangers were willing to really reshape their team letting Hamilton and Cruz walk, should that eventuate, is very interesting from a roster development standpoint. After their World Series (semi-)fail, the Rangers seem to have woken up to the idea that developing a competitive pitching staff will really matter for postseason. And the Rangers *had* A-Rod on an ‘eternity contract’: they’ve seen what even one of those deals can do to your organization’s flexibility, not to say it’s prosperity. Very interesting times in evaluating Texas’ front office. Even if Rios himself is kinda uninteresting.

MrMan
Guest
MrMan
2 years 10 months ago

With home-grown pitching talent like Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers, Martin Perez, Justin Grim, Nick Tepesch…as well as others in the minors such as Luke Jackson, Neil Ramirez and the recently departed CJ Edwards (in the Garza deal)…..it was long befgore the 2010-11 World Series run when the Rangers made the decision to develop a “competitive” pitching staff.

Very few teams have the pitching depth to withstand having 60% of their starting pitching go out for the season and still field an 18-games over .500 team…AND use home-grown talent to pick up the best pitcher and best bat available at the trade deadline.

The Rangers have done just that in 2013.

Michael
Guest
Michael
2 years 10 months ago

Willingham, BJ Upton or Ichiro RoS in a 14 team H2H points-based league (standard scoring w/ K’s being -.50) Who would you rather have?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 10 months ago

NO! *Bats Michael across the nose with a rolled up newspaper*

wpDiscuz