White Sox outfielder Alex Rios is drawing interest from several teams as the trade deadline approaches, and the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Giants are a few of the clubs scouting the veteran, industry sources tell ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine. Rios heard about the Rangers' interest first-hand from former teammate and current Texas catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
"A.J. contacted me the other day and said his team was talking about trying to get me,” Rios said. “All players want to be on a winner and in our situation it has been tough to win. I love it here in Chicago and so does my family but this is the time of year teams make these decisions. We have put ourselves in that position.”
Rios has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to six teams. The right fielder said his preference would be to remain in Chicago but "if they give me a choice I will have to weigh my options.” Levine opines that if Rios if presented with a deal to a contending team, he will waive his no-trade clause.
It was reported earlier this week that the White Sox are willing to consider dealing anyone besides Chris Sale and Paul Konerko, and Rios stands out as one of the more attractive options on the Chicago roster. Rios entered Sunday's action hitting .272/.331/.450 with 11 homers and 14 steals in 327 PA. The 32-year-old is owed roughly $19.75MM through the end of the 2014 season (which includes a total $1MM salary bump for being dealt before Spring Training 2014), and his contract also includes a $13.5MM club option for 2015 that can be bought out for $1MM.
The Rangers' outfield recently lost Craig Gentry to a fractured hand, and the remaining starters carry a number of question marks. David Murphy is struggling, Leonys Martin is only suited to play against right-handed pitching and Nelson Cruz could face a suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Gerardo Parra is the only solid everyday outfield option in Arizona, as Cody Ross (.669 OPS), A.J. Pollock (.700 OPS) and Jason Kubel (.715 OPS) have all yet to catch fire at the plate. Rookie Adam Eaton has missed the entire season with an elbow injury and could finally reach the Majors after the All-Star break, though the D'Backs would likely want a more proven veteran option to help them in their NL West pennant drive.
Though Rios hasn't played center field since 2011, the Giants could use him at that position to replace the injured Angel Pagan. The World Series champs are rumored to be looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, though GM Brian Sabean recently said that it was too early for his club to make a major trade.