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Alex Rios Rumors
We just took a look at the Marlins; now here are some notes on the rest of the NL East and their geographical counterparts from the American League:
- The Nationals rank as perhaps the league’s quietest contender approaching the trade deadline, in large part because it is difficult to see where the club might reasonably look to upgrade. We’ve heard previously that the team might target a young shortstop to plug into its pipeline, but one possibility for the MLB roster is a bullpen addition, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. While the Washington relief corps has been outstanding, and the club lacks apparent roster flexibility, Kilgore says that the Nats are interested in adding depth for the stretch run.
- This is my speculation, but if a new arm is added to the big league club, Washington could potentially stash rookie Aaron Barrett in the minors until rosters expand in September, though he has been quite solid (2.61 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 31 innings). More intriguingly, a pen slot could theoretically be opened if the team was to deal away former starter Ross Detwiler, though that would obviously result in a corresponding loss of depth.
- There have been several reports on Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who is earning $9MM this year and is promised $11MM for 2015. The club is “trying hard” to deal him, according to Danny Knobler (via Twitter), while Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets that interest is picking up but the Mets are disinclined to hold onto any of Colon’s salary in a deal.
- Moving the 41-year-old won’t be easy, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, because his future salary is both what New York wants to offload and what other clubs will want to avoid. Meanwhile, Sherman refutes reports suggesting that the Giants have engaged the Mets on Colon (Twitter link), writing that San Francisco would only have interest if it can avoid paying for a significant portion of Colon’s 2015 salary. Like Carig, Sherman hears that is not the Mets’ preference.
- The Blue Jays have shown interest in bringing back outfielder Alex Rios, currently with the Rangers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Toronto shed Rios and his big contract by declining to revoke an August waiver claim back in 2009, but the veteran has turned things around and now comes with only a $14MM team option left for 2015. Of course, there remains some doubt as to whether the Jays would be able to take on the remainder of Rios’s $12.5MM salary for the current season.
- Red Sox starter-turned-reliever Felix Doubront is not enjoying his current role with the club and hopes to see more action — in Boston or elsewhere — reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. The 26-year-old lefty has been mentioned before as a trade candidate, though it is not clear whether Boston will be inclined to move him as the club tries to get back in the mix, especially with talk that Jake Peavy could be dealt. Doubront will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year.
- The Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley with the expectation that he will be a two-month rental, GM Brian Cashman told reporters including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). The deal came together today after about three weeks of discussions, Cashman added.
- Headley will likely not be the last addition for New York, Cashman indicated in further comments, via Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. “I have more work to do,” he said. The GM explained that larger moves could be in the offing: “We’ve got high-end stuff, without a doubt, players that other teams like. And those players would be available, or will be available, in the right circumstances. These are the deals that I can present to you that we were able to conclude, but we’re talking much larger type deals, [and] clearly much smaller, incremental upgrades.”
There was some action on the shortstop front for the Indians today, as starter Asdrubal Cabrera left the game with lower back spasms, per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). That would appear to be a minor injury, but the news coincided with the club’s decision to promote top prospect (and fellow shortstop) Francisco Lindor to Triple-A, as Hoynes tweets. Cleveland has indicated, however, that the move was unrelated. Of course, Cabrera has often been mentioned as a trade candidate — at season’s end if not at this year’s deadline — due in large part to the continued rise of Lindor, his presumed successor.
Here’s more out of the AL and NL Central:
- With the Royals focusing on adding a corner bat, one possibility that the club has considered is Alex Rios of the Rangers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Rios does have a six-team no-trade clause which, according to Cot’s on Contracts, includes Kansas City. His $13.5MM club option for next season is not cheap, but could potentially take the place of Billy Butler‘s own $12.5MM option if the latter is dealt or has his option declined.
- The Twins appear to be prepared to sell, according to a report from MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. “We’re in a tough spot right now and we’ve been in a tough spot for four years,” said GM Terry Ryan. “So you have to listen. And that’s what we do.”
- One prime trade candidate for the Twins is outfielder Josh Willingham, who is slashing .209/.357/.399 with eight home runs in 207 plate appearances as he prepares to hit the open market after the season. Two clubs to watch as possible suitors are the Reds and Pirates, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
- The Cardinals received some promising news on righty Michael Wacha, who could begin throwing again in two weeks after seeing improved MRI and CT scan results, reports Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. An early September return still appears the best case scenario, according to GM John Mozeliak. But Wacha’s health will not dictate the club’s trade deadline plans. “They’re independent of each other,” said Mozeliak. “That’s still something we can explore in the next eight to ten days.”
- One oft-discussed option for the Cardinals is veteran Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, who once seemed close to being moved but could now be held as Boston looks to make a late surge. St. Louis is still keeping Peavy on their “back burner,” a source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link), who notes that Peavy has put together three consecutive solid outings.
The Royals‘ recent slide has dropped them below the .500 mark and, with so many teams ahead of them in the playoff race, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron believes K.C. should cut its losses and trade James Shields. There seems to be little chance Shields will re-sign with Kansas City this winter, so the Royals could get more prospect value by dealing him now than they would by getting a single compensation pick if and when he left in the offseason, Cameron opines.
Here’s the latest from around the AL Central…
- Dayton Moore doesn’t seem to be in sell mode, nor does he necessarily seem to be close on any trades as per comments made to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi. “I’m not going to give up on our team….We need the group of players we have to produce. We believe they will,” the Royals GM said (Twitter links).
- The Royals had a scout watching the Rangers/Blue Jays series over the weekend, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News believes the right-handed hitting outfielder-needy Royals could’ve been there to watch Alex Rios. Of course, Rios suffered a sprained ankle during the first inning of Saturday’s game and hasn’t played since. The sprain isn’t believed to be too serious, yet even a minor injury can’t help Rios’ trade value.
- The Twins will attend Rusney Castillo‘s showcase for scouts on July 26, 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link). There is “no sense yet of real interest” from Minnesota, according to Wolfson, and the decision will ultimately come down to how high the bidding gets for the Cuban outfielder’s services.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn’t expect the Indians to be major players at the trade deadline, either as buyers or sellers. The Indians are still in the hunt for both the AL Central lead and a wild card spot so they won’t be selling any notable players, but “it would be a shock if they added any high-priced talent.”
ESPN Dallas writer and reporter Richard Durrett, whose work was often referenced in MLBTR’s pages, passed away suddenly today. In one of his final pieces, Durrett wrote an excellent assessment of Alex Rios and his value to the Rangers as a trade candidate or member of next year’s club. As we commend his work one last time, MLBTR offers its deepest condolences to Durrett’s young family, friends, and colleagues in the press box.
Here is the latest news out of the American League:
- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland is “leaning toward” season-ending ankle surgery, GM Jon Daniels tells Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Moreland had struggled thus far in 2014, but his absence will still tell for a Texas club that has had more than its fair share of injuries. As Fraley notes, the 28-year-old could be a non-tender candidate.
- The Mariners are in position to begin full-on negotiations with first-round (sixth overall) selection Alex Jackson, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. As Dutton explains, both sides have strong incentives to get a deal done. Jackson’s spot in the draft comes with a $3,575,900 slot allocation, but at present Seattle can dedicate as much as $3,882,900 to the high schooler before incurring penalties, Dutton notes.
- Despite their obvious need for outfield help, the Red Sox appear to have little interest in the recently-released Jason Kubel, reports Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet New England (via Twitter). Kubel, 32, scuffled to a .224/.313/.295 line in 176 plate appearances in his return to the Twins.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos took on a range of topics in a press appearance today, and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a transcript. Addressing the team’s still-unsigned first-round choices (injured righty Jeff Hoffman and catcher Max Pentecost), Anthopoulos said that he “feel[s] very confident that [deals] will get done.”
- Turning to the upcoming trade deadline, Anthopoulos said that talks are still in a preliminary stage, with teams “calling to see what everyone’s needs are.” Strongly implying that Toronto expects to be a buyer, as one would expect, Anthopoulos continued: “I think the stage that everyone is at is, where do we have fits, what teams do we line up with and then the next step is, teams are out seeing our affiliates, or are going to see our affiliates.”
- Toronto is not necessarily just focused on adding a starter, Anthopoulos said. “[W]e’ve talked about every spot,” he said. “I was just on the phone with someone that, if they have a player available [and] we have a good player at that spot but that player’s an upgrade, we’d look to do it.” At this point, said the GM, “we’re just basically canvassing the clubs to see who’s available. In some of the conversations, players we didn’t think were available are, and we’ll see where the dialogue goes.”
- All that being said, the Blue Jays still seem likely to pursue rotation help. Indeed, the club sent a scout to watch Cubs‘ righties Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija in their most recent starts, reports Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network. On the other side of the coin, scouts from the Cubs and Rays were present to watch last Thursday’s outing for Jays’ minor league lefty Daniel Norris, along with the rest of the Class-A Dunedin squad.
Earlier this afternoon, Royals infielder Miguel Tejada was suspended for 105 games after a pair of positive tests for Adderall. Tejada will serve his suspension for the rest of this season and is expected to retire rather than sign with a team and serve the remainder of the punishment in 2014. He issued the following statement:
“I apologize to my teammates, the Royals organization and to the Kansas City fans. I have a medical condition that requires medication to treat. I took that medication while re-applying for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Under the requirements of the Joint Drug Program, I made a mistake in doing so.”
Here's more out of the AL Central…
- The White Sox will attend Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu's showcase next month, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Executive vice president Kenny Williams told Hayes that the Sox need to see more of Abreu before making a decision, but spending money is something the team isn't afraid to do. Paul Konerko is a free agent at season's end, and Adam Dunn will be off the books following 2014.
- In his latest Q&A with readers, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that while Alex Rios would've been a good fit with the Indians, the financial commitment to him was too much for the Tribe. Hoynes also tackles questions on acquiring a middle-of-the-order bat and Asdrubal Cabrera's struggles and trade value.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he's not worrying about his own future following the dismissal of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yesterday: "In all honesty, this is my 12th year (managing the Twins). It doesn't get much better than that. Managers just don't stay in places like that. I feel like I've been blessed. I'm lucky. I'm not going to sit here, if this is my last year, and mope, believe me. If it is my last year in Minnesota, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of it." Prior to Manuel's firing, he, Gardenhire and Mike Scioscia of the Angels were baseball's longest-tenured managers.
AUGUST 11: The White Sox have announced, via Twitter, Garcia is the player to be named later in the Rios trade. Garcia will report to Triple-A Charlotte and will most likely be a September call-up, before if needed, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (Twitter links).
AUGUST 9: It looked like a long shot just hours ago, but the White Sox and Rangers have announced a trade that will send Alex Rios to Texas in exchange for a player to be named later. The White Sox are reportedly including $1MM to help offset some of the remaining money on Rios' contract.
Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago feels that it's likely Leury Garcia will be the player to be named later at a time when he's not required to clear waivers to be moved (Twitter link). MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan agrees that Garcia will head to the White Sox, adding that the trade came together just minutes before the deadline to move Rios before his waiver period expired.
The 32-year-old Rios is hitting .277/.328/.421 with 12 homers and 26 stolen bases this season. Originally set to earn $12.5MM next year with a $13.5MM option for 2015, Rios has a clause in his contract that escalates both of those figures by $500K if traded, which is likely the reason that the Sox included the $1MM in cash.
The Rangers claimed Rios off waivers earlier this week after expressing interest in him prior to the trade deadline. This is the second time that he has changed teams in August, as the White Sox originally acquired him from the Blue Jays back in 2009 in a down season when the Jays simply dumped his contract onto the White Sox. In parts of five seasons with the White Sox, Rios hit .269/.310/.430, offering solid defense in right field. He's also capable of playing center field in a pinch, though he hasn't done so regularly since 2011.
The 22-year-old Garcia is hitting just .192/.236/.231 in 57 plate appearances this season. The switch-hitter entered the season ranked as the Rangers' No. 20 prospect, according to Baseball America. In their scouting report, BA noted that Garcia is a near 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and also possessed the best infield arm in Texas' system. His ultimate role may be a super utility player capable of handling second base, shortstop and center field, according to BA.
Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago first reported that Rios had been traded and that the White Sox would receive a PTBNL (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported that that the White Sox were including $1MM (on Twitter).
Let's take a look at the latest from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in this week's edition of Full Count:
- The Diamondbacks were the runner-up among teams vying to acquire Bud Norris from the Astros. The Snakes planned to keep Norris in the rotation for the remainder of the season, then shift him to the bullpen through the end of his contract, Rosenthal says, noting the team's wealth of young starting pitching and contracts for relievers Heath Bell and J.J. Putz that will expire after 2014. However, the Orioles were able to offer Houston the superior compensation pick.
- Tim Lincecum is pushing his free agent stock up with his recent run of strong starts, but the Giants haven't initiated contract talks yet with the hurler. An executive cited by Rosenthal pegged a potential deal for Lincecum in the three-year range with a $13MM-14MM annual salary. Though that initially appears high considering the right hander's poor performance last year and at the beginning of this one, the qualifying offer the Giants are likely to extend will probably be in the same $13MM-14MM range.
- Though the White Sox weren't able to find a taker for Alex Rios' contract before the deadline, Nelson Cruz's suspension changed the thinking in the Rangers' front office, according to Rosenthal. Texas was previously asking for significant cash back in any trade, while the Pirates weren't even interested enough to discuss specific names, Rosenthal reports. However, the Sox will likely eventually get infielder Leury Garcia from their deal with the Rangers, which could give them the flexibility to trade either second baseman Gordon Beckham or shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
- The dearth of hitters reaching the open market could have made Chase Utley quite popular in free agency. Rosenthal cites the Dodgers, Athletics and Orioles as potential suitors. The two years and $27MM of guaranteed salary that Utley received from the Phillies is comparable to guarantees that David Ortiz, Torii Hunter and Carlos Beltran got in free agency, Rosenthal notes.
Ever get the sense of deja vu? It's a feeling that Alex Rios probably experienced this week. On this date in 2009, the White Sox selected Alex Rios off of waivers from the Blue Jays. At the time, Rios was 28 and was owed $60MM more on his contract. For the rebuilding Toronto club, it was an opportunity to shed payroll with an eye on the future while the White Sox took a gamble to help bolster their club for the short and long-term.
At the time, Rios was hitting .264/.317/.427 with 14 homers in 479 plate appearances for the Blue Jays. While the Blue Jays weren't having a dismal season, their 54-57 mark at the time was good for fourth in the American League East and had them 14.5 games behind the first place Yankees. And while Rios' offensive production wasn't anything to sneeze at, it wasn't on a par with the .299/.352/.505 combined slash line that he turned in during his All-Star seasons in 2006 and 2007.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Rios continued a rather expensive summer for White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf as it was just days after landing Jake Peavy at the deadline for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter. Between the two, Chicago agreed to take on more than $100MM in future commitments. Strangely enough, the summer of 2013 saw both players jettisoned from Chicago.
This time around, it was the White Sox who found themselves as sellers and it only made sense for them to purge some of their more desirable veterans from their payroll. The August 2013 Rios deal seemed like a longshot to happen, but ultimately the outfielder was sent to Texas along with $1MM for a player to be named later. The Rangers hope that Rios can be the big bat that they need for their playoff push and the White Sox hope that they can use their new found flexibility to help build for the future.
With Nelson Cruz's suspension leaving the Rangers thin in the outfield, Texas acquired Alex Rios from the White Sox today for a PTBNL (widely reported to be infielder Leury Garcia) and $1MM. Now, several hours after news of the trade broke, here are reactions to the deal from around the web.
- Assuming the player to be named later in the deal does turn out to be Garcia, the Rangers paid a reasonable price for Rios, Eno Sarris of Fangraphs.com writes. With Rios only under contract for one more guaranteed year after 2013, the Rangers aren't assuming too much risk. Garcia didn't rank as a top prospect entering the season, and the Rangers have several infielders around for the long term and therefore could afford to part with him.
- The Rios trade is "a great move" for the Rangers, argues Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. The deal addresses the Rangers' needs both now and in the near future, since Rios is under contract in 2014 and Cruz and David Murphy are eligible for free agency after this season.
- The deal makes sense for both teams, says CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. The Rangers get an average player who adds depth to their lineup, Heyman says, and the White Sox avoid paying Rios' salary through 2014, when they didn't figure to compete anyway.
- Rios says he will remember fondly, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes (on Twitter). "It was a great ride," says Rios. "I enjoyed my whole time here. I had many great moments here. So, I’m going to miss this place."
FRIDAY: A source involved in the trade talks between the two sides told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio that the chances of a deal are "smaller than a bread basket."
THURSDAY, 4:51pm: A trade is unlikely to be reached, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Prior to the deadline, the White Sox were interested in lefty Martin Perez, right-hander Luke Jackson and infielder Rougned Odor, and the Rangers aren't keen on giving up those players in a trade for Rios.
3:29pm: The Rangers and White Sox "weren't even close" on an agreement when discussing Rios prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler also tweets that Rios was placed on waivers on Monday, and the deadline to work out a deal for him is tomorrow. That would suggest that Rios was claimed earlier in the week, but the news only broke today.
2:45pm: The Rangers are the team that claimed Rios, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Grant cautions that claiming Rios and actually striking a deal to acquire the 32-year-old are very different things.
Because he is on revocable waivers, the White Sox have 48 hours to work out a trade with the claiming team or pull him back off waivers. Chicago could also let the claiming team have Rios for nothing and be content to dump his salary — the very manner in which Chicago acquired Rios from the Blue Jays in 2009 — but that seems unlikely given his .277/.328/.421 batting line. Rios is controlled through 2014 and owed $12.5MM next season with a $13.5MM club option, though each of those salaries will increase by $500K if he is traded.
It seems likely that an American League team was awarded the claim on Rios, as waiver priority at this point in the season is determined by league and record. All 15 AL teams would have the opportunity to claim Rios before an NL team. The Rangers and Pirates were both connected to Rios prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.