Alex Rios Rumors
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark adds the Astros to the list of teams interested in John Smoltz. Here are the rest of his rumors:
- The Cubs could look for another bat and another starter, but it depends on how healthy Aramis Ramirez, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano are.
- Stark points out that Aaron Harang's 2011 club option becomes a more expensive $14MM mutual option if he's traded. The Reds haven't seemed willing to take on cash in a trade involving Harang or rotation-mate Bronson Arroyo.
- The Yanks don't appear to have interest in either Reds starter, or John Smoltz, for that matter.
- Don't expect any serious negotiating to occur between the Nationals, Scott Boras and Stephen Strasburg before the last minute. Most execs who Stark surveyed expect Strasburg to sign in the end.
- The Braves could re-sign Adam LaRoche after the season, when the first baseman will hit free agency.
- Jim Thome still impresses scouts and should be able to find work as a DH after the season.
- Some teams doubt Vicente Padilla's character because the Rangers are ready to part with him even though they need pitching.
- Some of Alex Rios' former teammates question the outfielder's work ethic and desire.
- Stark hears that Andy Sonnanstine and Jeff Niemann were claimed on waivers and quickly pulled back by the Rays.
- The Braves made a quick run at Victor Martinez before the Red Sox acquired him, but didn't get very far.
- Though their negotiations with Aaron Crow could theoretically continue into late spring, the Royals may impose a deadline of their own to sign their top pick.
Some afternoon links...
- Jason Jennings of 99.9 The Fan reports that Donavan Tate left the UNC football program and appears likely to sign with the Padres.
- The Orioles expect to know within two days whether they'll sign second rounder Michal Givens, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- The Mets expect to sign their top pick, Steven Matz, according to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. The lefty could command a seven figure bonus.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says the Astros could bring Miguel Tejada back next year, though they haven't decided what they'll do.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports that Jays manager Cito Gaston isn't sure he wants to manage after his contract expires at the end of next season.
- Joe Posnanski says Alex Rios has the seventh worst contract in the game. Rob Neyer's take: Ricciardi has signed players to lousy contracts, but he may be the right guy in the wrong place at this point. My take: Posnanski's too hard on the deal.
Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Blue Jays asked for a player currently on the White Sox in exchange for Alex Rios before asking for a prospect and eventually settling for salary relief. Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi didn't get MLB talent back for his right fielder, but executives around the league say they understand the thought process behind the trade. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- One GM says Rios would be a good gamble at $30-35MM, but the $60MM remaining on his deal is too much.
- White Sox GM Kenny WIlliams says he's fully confident that Jake Peavy will transition into the American League and help the White Sox down the stretch.
- It's uncertain whether Gary Sheffield and Pedro Feliciano were claimed off waivers. Two AL teams were interested in Sheffield before his hamstring injuries popped up.
- Teams are claiming more cheap, young players than ever.
- The Red Sox would love Marco Scutaro, but aren't likely to get the chance to acquire him since teams with worse records would presumably claim him.
- Heyman hears that Matt Holliday could press for a no-trade clause and may not take the biggest deal he sees as a free agent this offseason.
- Some estimate that Jason Bay could make about $60MM over four years when he hits free agency after the season.
- The Nats could name a new GM by the end of the month. Acting GM Mike Rizzo is receiving praise around the league for acquiring Nyjer Morgan.
- Most execs believe John Smoltz is more likely to land in the NL.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggests that Alex Rios would sign a deal worth $20MM over two years or $30MM over three if he were a free agent right now. That means the White Sox are paying more than market value for their new outfielder, but clubs can't often acquire talented players in their prime. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors:
- The White Sox are better equipped to win this year and, even though they took on lots of money, they didn't give up a single player to acquire Rios.
- Some talent evaluators are convinced the Rays will listen to offers for B.J. Upton this offseason.
- Olney hears that Doug Davis is currently on waivers and John Smoltz cleared waivers.
- If the D'Backs don't exercise Brandon Webb's $8.5MM option for 2010, he could become a gamble for big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.
More reactions to the biggest deal we've seen this August...
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says the White Sox can afford Alex Rios since they have a hole in center field, salaries coming off the books and a deep enough system to afford the price of "no players."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the White Sox are making risky, fascinating moves.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports doubts the Blue Jays can win next year, even with Roy Halladay around. It takes a special team to win in the AL East and Knobler suggests the Jays don't have enough talent.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams picked up a $56 ticket for jaywalking in Seattle yesterday, according to MLB.com's Christian Caple. He committed a million times as much to Alex Rios.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reminds us that the Giants at least considered a Tim Lincecum-Alex Rios swap less than two years ago.
The world's had a few hours to digest the Rios trade and a few have made their judgments. Let's check it out, with more likely on the way:
- Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune talked to Jermaine Dye, who called the move "a shock" and doesn't know what the future holds for him.
- Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports says the White Sox have managed their payroll well enough in order to take on a contract as big as Rios's.
- Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times has an in-depth piece on the deal. Apparently Sox GM Kenny Williams had tried to acquire Rios before the deadline. Williams admits that the team went "out on a limb" for Rios money-wise, after claiming finances would be an issue for the Sox this season.
- Drunk Jays Fans sees it as "the right move for whatever direction this club might be headed in." (Maybe not safe for work/children, but entertaining as usual.)
On this day last year, the White Sox acquired Horacio Ramirez from the Royals for minor-leaguer Paul Orlando. Today, they got Alex Rios for nothing.
- Matt Eddy at Baseball America has a useful guide to the past week's minor-league transactions.
- Tough break for the Nationals: According to Chico Harlan at the Washington Post, prized young arm Jordan Zimmermann has a torn ligament that will likely require up to 18 months to repair. Speculation, but perhaps this could further press the Nationals in the Stephen Strasburg negotiations?
- Ken Davidoff at Newsday likes the Alex Rios move for both teams.
- Game of Inches analyzes some metrics and sees the Rios move as a big win for J.P. Ricciardi.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that talks have fallen off between the team and first-round selection Mike Leake. Last week's above-slot signing of Mike Minor by the Braves didn't help matters.
ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. has some good inside info on the international free agent market, as always. Let's scope out his latest:
- Despite reports that the Padres had been interested in top talent Miguel Angel Sano, a Padres executive "assured" Arangure that the team would not be signing Sano. Investigation into Sano's age is ongoing.
- Arangure believes that the recent acquisition of Alex Rios by the White Sox takes them out of the running for top Cuban pitching talent Aroldis Chapman. It had been rumored that the White Sox were one of the top suitors for Chapman, as the Sox already field Cuban stars like Jose Contreras and Alexei Ramirez.
- The Padres are said to be scouting Edgar Ferreira, who Arangure says is the top Dominican amateur pitcher still unsigned. They'll watch him pitch tomorrow. Ben Badler at Baseball America ranked Ferreira the 11th overall best international free agent this season.
According to the New York Times' Tyler Kepner (via Twitter), the White Sox have acquired Alex Rios from the Blue Jays. It's a straight waiver claim, so the Blue Jays will receive nothing in return. Says Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi:
"This allows us to get out from under a contract and do more to address our club."
Check out Ken Fidlin's article from the Toronto Sun for more Ricciardi quotes on the move.
The 28-year-old Rios is due roughly $60MM more on the seven-year contract he signed last April, which will take him through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015. Rios is hitting .264/.317/.424 in 479 plate appearances for the Jays this season. With the Jake Peavy acquisition already in the books, that means White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has taken on more than $100MM in future contracts for the Sox.
To lose Rios' fat contract is a major relief for the re-building Blue Jays, while the Sox add a relatively stable long-term piece to their outfield. This could also potentially spell the end for Jermaine Dye as a member of the Sox, as he has a mutual option after this season and it's not clear how he'd fit into the picture. If he is retained, Rios could potentially play center field.
MONDAY, 5:26pm: According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, Blue Jays manager J.P. Ricciardi has just called a pre-game press conference. Bastian wonders if it'll involve news on the Rios situation. Stay tuned.
SUNDAY, 5:01pm: Ken Rosenthal says that Jays have to let Rios go, regardless of what kind of return - if any - they receive. Freeing up $58.7MM over the next several years is too valuable of an opportunity. As Rosenthal points out, $12MM this offseason (Rios' approximate average salary) could have bought Bobby Abreu, Orlando Hudson, Russell Branyan, and Adam Everett, while leaving $800K to spare.
6:52pm: Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune spoke to White Sox GM Kenny Williams, who abided by league rules stating he can't comment about specific players placed on waivers. He did offer up this, though:
"I’m not confirming or denying any interest or any claims or any thing, but if these things get out on a daily basis, boy, it’s going to be a heck of an August around here in terms of how many players you claim and how many you don’t claim. It will make your head spin if you follow each report. A lot of players getting claimed every day. Why is this a big deal?"
1:50pm: According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, we should know by "early Tuesday afternoon" where Rios is headed.
SATURDAY, 1:34pm: MLB.com's Jordan Bastian asked Rios about the waiver claim before Saturday's tilt with the Orioles. It sounds like everyone is still in the dark. "I can't do anything," said the outfielder. "If I get traded, I get traded. I'm going to have to go wherever I get traded to, but I don't know. At this point I'm thinking that I'm staying here."
For what it's worth, Rios is 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI since the waiver claim was reported.
FRIDAY, 10:02pm: Olney is now reporting that the White Sox "are most likely the team awarded claim on Rios, but the Blue Jays have not confirmed it." The Sox face a mutual option on right fielder Jermaine Dye after the season, and could also consider using Rios in center field if they acquire him.
8:44pm: Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reports that the Mariners did not put the claim in on Rios.
7:58pm: John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that "someone high in the front office" confirms that the Reds did not claim Rios.
6:16pm: Henry Schulman of The SF Chronicle says that vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans "hinted strongly" that the Giants are not the team that claimed Rios.
4:41pm: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox didn't claim Rios, either.
4:39pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears from a high-ranking Mets official that the Mets did not claim Rios. J.P. Ricciardi didn't get into specifics with MLB.com's Jordan Bastian and just said it's normal to place players on waivers.
2:52pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that Alex Rios has been claimed on waivers by an unknown team. The Blue Jays now have three choices:
- They can let the claiming team have Rios and the $60MM-plus remaining on his contract.
- They can pull him back from waivers and keep him.
- They can work out a deal with the claiming team.