Alex Rios Rumors
9:05pm: The White Sox announced that Rios has a contusion on his left foot and will receive cautionary x-rays, but the injury doesn't sound to be serious.
8:19pm: Rios left tonight's game after fouling a ball off his foot. He received medical attention and was able to walk off the field slowly under his own power.
6:11pm: The Pirates' interest in Rios is losing steam, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
3:27pm: The Yankees have renewed interest in Rios, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin, though he'd have to approve a trade. On Friday, Rios bristled at the suggestion he'd rejected potential a deal to the Yanks.
12:25pm: It sounds like the White Sox and Pirates are getting close on a deal for right fielder Alex Rios, tweets David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. He notes that the cash is being worked on, and he's not sure if the two clubs can find middle ground. Rios will be owed over $18MM through 2014 if traded. If the White Sox cover a substantial part of that, Rios could be coming to the Pirates, tweets MLB.com's Tom Singer.
Four straight losses have dropped the Rangers to 1.5 games out in the wild card. Here's the latest:
- The Rangers aren't planning on making any major moves prior to the deadline, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. General manager Jon Daniels doesn't think his team will acquire a significant right-handed bat, nor does he plan on trading Joe Nathan. Daniels told Wilson that the idea of trading Nathan never gained much traction: "We'll talk about anything," Daniels said. "That's our jobs, but talking about something and having it happen are very different things." Wilson adds that the Rangers haven't had any serious talks about Alex Rios, Hunter Pence or Kendrys Morales recently, and they were never that big on the idea of re-acquiring Michael Young or Marlon Byrd.
- The Rangers are strongly considering standing pat, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
- Manny Ramirez doesn't have an opt-out in his minor league deal with the Rangers, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but the team "never intended to keep him dangling." They haven't yet decided whether they'll keep Manny in the organization, though they aren't expected to promote him. The 41-year-old is hitting .269/.347/.418 in 75 Triple-A plate appearances.
- "I've never had to worry about this stuff before and I'm not going to start now," closer Joe Nathan told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News regarding his rumored availability. It's hard to picture which contender could offer a quality bat for a closer, anyway.
White Sox right fielder Alex Rios is hitting .272/.325/.427 in 426 plate appearances this year, ranking him about 13th in baseball in offensive production at the position. The 32-year-old is guaranteed just under $18MM through 2014, and he's limped to a .266/.311/.354 line since June. The latest trade rumors:
- The Rangers are no longer seriously pursuing Rios, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Rios' agent Paul Kinzer told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune nothing appears imminent with his client unless other teams are willing to improve their offers.
- The White Sox have asked for two top prospects plus a lesser player for Rios without much luck, hears ESPN's Jayson Stark. Stark feels it's possible the Sox could pull Rios back and market him in the offseason.
Tonight's AL Central Links..
- The White Sox are shopping right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom along with Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, and Alexei Ramirez, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. However, it's unclear how much interest other teams have, Knobler adds. Lindstrom, 33, has a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings pitched and has yet to allow a home run this year. However, his 6.2 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 could give some teams some pause.
- We've heard the Royals have set a high price for Ervin Santana, and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that rival executives believe Luke Hochevar may be more likely to be traded. One executive described the 29-year-old Hochevar as "a hot item," as he's blossomed in the bullpen this season, posting a 1.89 ERA in 38 innings after struggling in the Royals' rotation for years. Some clubs may believe he could return to a starting role, potentially increasing his value. He's expected to draw interest from the Braves and Dodgers, among other teams.
- Meanwhile, Santana may also be a fit in Atlanta, Heyman says. That matches with what we've heard, though the Royals are indicating they'd need to be "overwhelmed" to trade him. Kansas City is targeting right field and second base help, Heyman adds.
- An official familiar with the situation tells Knobler that a trade sending Ramirez from the White Sox to the Cardinals is "not likely," though as Knobler notes, such a deal appears to make sense on paper. Shortstop is the one position in a stacked St. Louis lineup that could use an upgrade, while the Sox are open for business and had a top scout in St. Louis this week. The two teams have discussed Ramirez along with Peavy, according to Knobler, who also reports that the Rangers maintain their interest in Rios. The Pirates may also be involved in Rios talks. Peavy, meanwhile, appears to be drawing the most attention from the Red Sox, but the A's and Braves have also expressed interest in the right-hander.
After a look at the AL East earlier this morning, let's turn our attention out west ...
- While the Athletics are looking to buttress their 4-game division lead by buying at the deadline, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that the club is finding supply to be limited. "Right now there are more buyers than there are sellers, more buyers than last year," says GM Billy Beane. Second base and starting pitching are the needs atop Oakland's wish list, team sources tell Hickey. In spite of the rotation's solid performance to date, Hickey says a trade could allow the team to utilize Brett Anderson in a bullpen role when he returns from injury. Citing Beane's apparent willingness to take on some relatively significant salary obligations, Hickey lists Jake Peavy (White Sox), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Bud Norris (Astros), and Kyle Lohse (Brewers) as potential targets.
- After adding starter Matt Garza, the Rangers are looking at dealing for an outfielder, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Currently, says Heyman, Alex Rios of the White Sox is the most likely candidate for Texas. Heyman further notes, however, that the club could look to wait out the market in the hopes that players like Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, or the Giants' Hunter Pence become available, with Pence being the most likely among those to change hands. Texas has also considered Chris Denorfia of the Padres, Marlon Byrd of the Mets, and Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins, though Heyman notes that those options would rank below Rios in terms of impact.
- The Astros' Mark Appel is the highest-rated player from the recent amateur draft on MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's updated Top 100 prospects list. As Mayo explains in his overview of the changes to the list, the top overall choice leads a group of eight recently-drafted players to crack the top 100. Houston is tied with the Red Sox with the most total players to make Mayo's list, with eight apiece. In terms of a simple weighting metric that Mayo calls "Prospect Points," the 'Stros have the most overall prospect value in baseball in high-end prospects, followed closely by the Twins. Though the Astros passed on top overall prospect Byron Buxton in last year's draft, its strategy enabled it to land the players currently checking in at number nine (Carlos Correa) and number sixty-five (Lance McCullers) instead.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Yankees were the only team to which Soriano would accept a trade (Twitter link).
- Prior to acquiring Soriano, the Yankees contacted the White Sox to express interest in Alex Rios, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Yankees are on Rios' no-trade list and were informed that he would not approve a deal to the Bronx. Rios, however, says he was never approached about accepting a deal to the Yankees, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports.
- Sherman also tweets that the Yankees have continued to contact the Phillies regarding Michael Young, but to this point they've been told that Young isn't available and might not become available at all.
In his latest edition of Rumblings & Grumblings, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke with Skip Schumaker, who wants to see MLB really amp up the penalties for PED use. "The players are in favor of stricter penalties. No doubt," Schumaker said. "And they're also in favor of voiding contracts. Not that I can speak for everybody. I can't. But let's just say that a few of my good friends are high-profile players, and they're in favor of cleaning up the game." Here's more from Stark's column..
- An exec who speaks frequently with the Phillies says they have talked a lot with the Padres about a deal that could send Luke Gregerson and an outfielder to Philadelphia for a package of young players. However, the Phillies appear to be looking for deals that wouldn't require parting with their most advanced prospects. Earlier today, we heard that Gregerson is drawing significant interest.
- Gregerson also appears to be at the top of the list for the Tigers. However, it's going to take at least one big league-ready young player who projects as an immediate contributor for the Padres, in part because Gregerson is under club control for next season.
- While the discussion around the Phillies is framed as a black-and-white decision between buying and selling, execs of two clubs say they're mostly trying to position themselves for the future without giving up on 2013.
- The Braves are more interested in the starting pitcher market than they were before Tim Hudson's injury, but they're no more likely to pay the price for a Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse. An official of one team who spoke with the Braves said they'd be open to a modest deal similar to their deal for Paul Maholm last year, but they're "not going to trade Alex Wood for any of the guys on this market." Earlier today, MLB.com's Mark Bowman offered a different take, reporting that the Braves are looking at front-line hurlers.
- Three clubs with interest in the Astros' Bud Norris tell Stark that they have a feeling that Houston may just be gauging the hurler's trade value and could be waiting to move him this winter. Those execs said it reminds them of how the Rays used to gauge interest in pitchers like Matt Garza and James Shields in July so they could focus on those teams' systems before dealing them the following offseason.
- Clubs that have checked in with the Royals say Santana is only available for a huge payout. The Royals have openly told the shoppers they've talked to that the only way they'll move Santana is if they "win the deal," and that means they want a second baseman and/or right fielder who can start for them in 2014. Despite their situation, the Royals are telling everyone their priority is to win as many games as possible this season, not cut payroll.
- Clubs that are in on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez seem to think that the Red Sox are the favorite because they like the idea of spending money on a big-league-ready guy more than overpaying in prospects for a strong pitcher on the trade market. One exec says that he should be in the big leagues by September and be a rotation regular next year.
- The Pirates might not be as focused on Alex Rios as they've been portrayed. Rios' contract, which would increase his base salary to $13MM next season if he's traded, doesn't fit into their payroll. On top of that, other scouts say Bucs scouts have questioned Rios' effort. Stark says Justin Morneau, who they've inquired on, is a name to file away. Even though they'd prefer a right-handed bat who could play right field, they could move Garrett Jones back to right if they deal for a first baseman.
6:58am: Chicago right fielders Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios top the Pirates' wish list, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago. The Bucs "have been watching Schierholtz for more than a month," notes Levine.
Right field is an obvious need for the 60-39 Pirates, who have been using Travis Snider, Jose Tabata, and Garrett Jones there and have gotten an aggregate .228/.291/.360 line. Schierholtz, 29, signed a one-year, $2.25MM deal with the Cubs in December after being non-tendered by the Phillies. At .277/.334/.521 with a career-high five RBIs last night, he's having an excellent campaign. Arbitration eligibility for 2014 is a big plus, though for some GMs Schierholtz has yet to shake the reputation of a platoon bat given his continued lack of playing time and struggles against left-handed pitching.
Levine quotes Cubs president Theo Epstein saying, "I think it is fair to say we have some players who can help other clubs. That would especially be true for players who are not under contract control next season." As you might expect, that's an indication that the team is more inclined to move its impending free agents, such as closer Kevin Gregg, as opposed to someone like Schierholtz.
The Pirates' interest in Rios has been previously noted. He's on the radar of the Rangers, Royals, and Red Sox as well.
11:10pm: The Rangers are not currently pursuing De Aza, Morosi tweets.
7:17pm: The Rangers have also set their sights on Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, and Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales to fill a need for a right-handed bat, baseball sources tell Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. Unlike Rios, Pence and Morales are only signed through the remainder of this season. It's also worth noting that while the White Sox are sure to be sellers, that's not the case with San Francisco or Seattle.
4:01pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Rangers are also interested in Alejandro De Aza. The 29-year-old De Aza is hitting .275/.332/.437 with 12 homers and 11 steals. He is controlled through the 2015 season and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason after earning $2.08MM in 2013.
Since the Garza trade, reports have indicated that the Rangers are in the market to add another hitter (Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com reporting). Rios is of particular interest to the Rangers because of their fear that Nelson Cruz could receive a suspension similar to the one Ryan Braun received on Monday. Rios would also provide GM Jon Daniels with a solution to right field in 2014, should Cruz sign elsewhere as a free agent.
Rios, 32, is batting .278/.333/.442 with 12 homers and 21 stolen bases on the season to go along with solid defense in right field. He's capable of playing center in a pinch (he hasn't played there regularly since 2011) and is earning $12.5MM in both 2013 and 2014. His contract also contains a club option for $13.5MM with a $1MM buyout. He's also drawn interest from the Red Sox and the Pirates, among other teams.
Here's a look at the latest trade rumblings from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com..
- We know that the Rangers have interest in Alex Rios, but the Royals also like the White Sox outfielder, Knobler writes. The Royals have been talked about more as sellers and we know that they're willing to discuss Ervin Santana, but KC has also been looking to add under-control players who could fill their needs in right field or at second base. It's not clear how much the division rivals have talked, however.
- The Braves need their hitting to improve, but they're scouring the market for bullpen help, writes Knobler. The main focus has been on finding a left-handed reliever, but they've also looked at right-handed bullpen help and even at starting pitchers. Left-handers like the Brewers' Mike Gonzalez and James Russell of the Cubs would make sense for them. Marlins lefty Mike Dunn has also been mentioned by some teams, but the Braves have been told he won't be traded.
- In addition to Rios, the Rangers also have their eye on the Mets' Marlon Byrd (Twitter link). Last week it was said that the Mets need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Byrd.