Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail spoke to Alex Rios’ agent Paul Kinzer today. Blair learned that Kinzer will meet with Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi early this week to talk about a long-term contract extension. Rios recently agreed to a $4.835MM contract for ’08. Rios, eligible for free agency after 2010, seeks at least a three-year extension (buying out one or more years of free agency).
Rios, 27, hit .297/.354/.498 for the Jays in ’07. The average AL right fielder hit .288/.359/.465 by comparison. Additionally, the Fielding Bible’s panel of experts ranked Rios as the best defensive right fielder in all of baseball, ahead of Austin Kearns. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system projects a decline to .280/.339/.468 for Rios in ’08.
I was thinking Michael Cuddyer’s extension could serve as a framework, but Rios’ status as a SuperTwo player throws off the comparison. Jeremy Sandler of the National Post wrote on January 15th that Rios might command a four-year, $40MM deal to buy out his arb-eligible years and first of free agency. So maybe now a three-year, $35MM extension would do the trick.