Alex Rios Rumors
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 10:03am: Per Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun: no match for the Indians and Jays on Rios. I knew Gutierrez/Lee didn't sound right.
FROM 12-4-07 at 9:46am:
Joel Sherman has a new column up with some fresh rumors.
- The Indians and Blue Jays are reportedly talking about a swap that would send Alex Rios to the Tribe for Franklin Gutierrez and Cliff Lee. Seriously? That seems like a lousy deal for the Jays. How long until a debunking on this one?
- The Jake Peavy signing is a cause for optimism as the Indians seek to re-sign C.C. Sabathia.
- As you know, the Cubs are all about getting a left-handed hitting right fielder, and Kosuke Fukudome is the best available. Adam Dunn was also on their radar (in right field??) but those talks died. Sherman says if the Cubs don't get Fukudome they could move on to Johnny Damon (in right field??).
Susan Slusser and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle have an extensive collection of A's and Giants rumors from Monday's Winter Meetings mayhem.
- The asking price for Dan Haren is said to be massive, is in 3-4 blue chippers. The Tigers might even be willing to part with both Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin for him - wow. The D'Backs are a bit more gunshy about their top prospects, though most believe Carlos Gonzalez to be available. I imagine Justin Upton is off limits.
- The Dodgers are going the hardest after Joe Blanton, with the Mets trailing.
- Huston Street is likely to stay put and may even talk extension with the A's.
- The authors don't expect Brian Sabean to get the Tim Lincecum offer he needs to pull the trigger. But they suggest Sabean's "interesting" offer could involve Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion, or Alex Rios.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 12:34am: Blair has updated his article to reflect the Jays' interest in Cain and Lincecum. He says the Giants spent much of the day watching tape of the two, trying to decide which they prefer. Putting two and two together, maybe the "interesting offer" Brian Sabean spoke of today was Alex Rios?
FROM 12-3-07 at 8:46pm:
The Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair has several new rumors in his column tonight.
- The Jays' President, Paul Godfrey, is all about bringing in a big-name Canadian player. Blair rattles off Jason Bay, Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden, and Eric Gagne as available Canada natives. Of course, not all of those guys would be draws.
- The Jays are indeed in on Bedard, which is a surprise since starting pitching is a strength of theirs. This idea has been around since at least May though. Blair talked to one exec who said the Jays are planning to get "aggressive and creative." It had been previously thought the Jays would have a low-key winter.
- Blair talks of somehow sending A.J. Burnett to Baltimore in a Bedard deal, which makes little sense for the O's even if Burnett would like to play there. In my estimation the O's could ask for Alex Rios or Dustin McGowan for Bedard. The Jays could try to push Adam Lind and Shaun Marcum instead but I don't see that getting it done. I could see the O's asking about Travis Snider as well.
- Blair says the Jays could get Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum "right away" if they'd offer Rios to the Giants. Blair even says an expanded deal could send Lind and/or Troy Glaus over to San Francisco as well. Hmmm.
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com isn't hearing any of this stuff - but he did connect the Jays to...Paul Bako. Blair and Bastian present two very different stories around the same ballclub.
Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was pretty clear on his intentions: "we're not trading Rios." But what else is he going to say? Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail has a source that says despite that declaration, Pat Gillick still wants him for the Phillies.
Blair says the Jays won't trade Rios unless they're getting Brett Myers or Cole Hamels in return. We'll label that as educated speculation on Blair's part. Such a trade would make about as much sense as using Myers as closer.
The much talked-about scenario involves the Phils somehow wresting Rios from the Jays without giving up either frontline starter, and then shipping Aaron Rowand to San Diego for Scott Linebrink. I'm all for speculation, but the Jays know what they've got in Rios. He doesn't get traded if Jon Lieber is the centerpiece.
Phillies GM Pat Gillick swung by the Blue Jays' camp yesterday to talk some baseball with J.P. Ricciardi. The Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair writes that the Phils like Alex Rios and Dustin McGowan and are trying to trade Jon Lieber. Reed Johnson could be a more reasonable bounty for Lieber.
As Blair says, the Jays want to see what they've got first. And I'm not sure why the Phillies would be actively trying to acquire an outfielder with Burrell, Rowand, and Victorino under contract. That looks like a decent outfield to me. The Phillies are weak in the bullpen.
If the Jays are to part with Rios, a star in the making, they need a frontline starter. They were asking for quite a bit back in January - Brett Myers or Chad Billingsley and then some. A month before that, Buster Olney first mentioned that Rios could be available for Brad Penny or Joe Blanton.
The only name I've heard here that really makes sense is Myers, and the Phils probably didn't just sign him with the intent of trading him. Billingsley would certainly be a nice return for Toronto, but the Dodgers don't need Rios.
According to Ken Rosenthal's latest column, the Blue Jays wanted either Brett Myers or Chad Billingsley plus Matt Kemp or Jonathan Broxton in return for right fielder Alex Rios. Both clubs are known for their current starting pitching surpluses; the Phils actually have the need for an outfielder.
Not too many teams are looking to unload an AL-East-ready starter, so the Jays might have to lower their expectations. Plenty of teams could make room for Rios as a right or center fielder.
ESPN's Buster Olney reports in his blog that the Blue Jays are willing to trade right fielder Alex Rios, who turns 26 in February. The Blue Jays are in search of one more quality starter to pair with Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, and perhaps Casey Janssen or Shaun Marcum. It's a necessity in the AL East.
Back in 2004, Baseball America ranked Rios sixth among all prospects, between Rickie Weeks and Kaz Matsui. Rios earned a promotion to Toronto without mastering Triple A, and his growth kind of stagnated for two years. He played some center field while Vernon Wells was out, and also served as the leadoff hitter for a while.
Before the breakout, many teams tried to pry Rios away. The Nats talked about a Rios for Nick Johnson deal in December of 2004. You can bet Jim Bowden would love him in CF, but doesn't have the goods for a trade. In the winter of '05, the Rangers were offering Kevin Mench for Rios while the Nats countered with Brad Wilkerson.
The much-awaited breakout happened this year, as Rios mashed at .330/.383/.585 for 270 ABs leading up to his June 29th leg injury (staph infection). He returned on July 28th and hit .261/.297/.411 thereafter. It was an ugly couple of months but he did bounce back in September.
Some projections for '07:
Ron Shandler: .293/.337/.500
Bill James: .286/.336/.442
On his glovework, The Fielding Bible wrote:
"Rios is an excellent defender, a five-tool player with outstanding range and speed and a strong, accurate arm suited for right field. The Jays would love to switch him to center field where he is a better offensive fit, but they have a Gold Glover in Vernon Wells entrenched there."
With Ichiro now in center, Rios may be baseball's best defensive RF.
Olney mentions a few trade possibilities: to the Dodgers for Brad Penny, to the A's for Joe Blanton, or to the Mets for a package of young guys. Olney didn't bring up the White Sox, but there could be an excellent fit. The Sox could use Rios in center in 2007, and perhaps shift him back to right in '08 if Jermaine Dye leaves.