Jays Close To Long-Term Deal With Rios?

SATURDAY, 9:41am: The six-year, $65MM offer is on the table for Rios.  If the sides can’t make a deal this weekend, the talks will be pushed until after the season.

TUESDAY, 11:57am: This deal remains close, but not done.  The Jays have a firm Sunday deadline with their offer to Rios.

MONDAY, 11:02pm: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays are nearing a long-term extension for right fielder Alex Rios.  The six-year deal would cover two arb years and four of free agency, starting with the ’09 season.  The amount would be around $65MM, apparently with a 2015 option for about $15MM.  The Vernon Wells-Rios outfield tandem would be together through 2014 at least.

It seems like a discounted price for Rios, who is only 27.  He’s an above average hitter for his position, and may play the best right field defense in the game.  Those last two arb years may have cost the Jays $20MM going year to year.  So it’s kind of like buying out Rios’ first four years of free agency at a reasonable $11.25MM per.  Right fielders Kosuke Fukudome and J.D. Drew received higher average annual values on their deals.

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