Alex Rios Rumors
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.
More links to take a look at...
- The Nationals agreed to terms with five Dominican players, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Bradford Doolittle of the Kansas City Star says Royals fans should hope the Nats don't sign Stephen Strasburg. If Washington can't strike a deal with Strasburg, he could become an option for the Royals in next year's draft.
- One executive believes the Jays should trade Alex Rios for a bag of balls, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- Not a rumor, but I can't resist. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it's Shaq week in St. Louis as Albert Pujols prepares to take on Shaquille O'Neal for the big man's reality show.
- At SI.com, Jonah Keri says the Rays will be contenders going forward, even if they decide to trade multi-talented outfielder Carl Crawford this offseason.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney says we should know today whether anyone has successfully claimed Cristian Guzman off waivers. However, some executives say Guzman isn't worth the $8MM he makes annually. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors:
- J.J. Hardy hasn't yet cleared waivers and Olney wonders if the Red Sox could target him. They had interest in Hardy earlier in the year, but the two teams couldn't agree on the shortstop's value.
- The Rays are one of the teams claiming many players. They don't expect to acquire all the cheap youngsters they claim, but they could face a roster issue if they're handed multiple players.
- Every talent evaluator Olney speaks with believes the Jays need to take advantage of the club that claimed Alex Rios and dump the right fielder's salary while they can.
A variety of links to look at this morning...
- The Blue Jays have until 12:30 CST tomorrow to deal Alex Rios, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog considers possible replacements for current Mets GM Omar Minaya.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates will have to be something more than an "unmitigated disaster" for Neal Huntington's moves to start looking good, since the GM obtained half the team's roster in recent trades.
- Victor Martinez tells Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald that he's looking forward to his first home game as a member of the Red Sox.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer shows that the Reds' moves impacted players personally and professionally.
- Baseball America's Conor Glassey reports that the Phillies signed third rounder Kyrell Hudson to an over-slot bonus worth about $475k.
Danny Knobler from CBS Sports writes that two baseball sources have confirmed to CBS Sports that Alex Rios was claimed on waivers, and one source stated that he was claimed by the White Sox. Knobler says that the Jays will keep Rios if they're not offered enough in return.
Additionally, an unknown team placed a waiver claim on Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada. The Astros have since pulled Tejada back. Any guesses as to who the claiming team was?
Knobler also says that the Rays have been very active in placing claims on any low-salary players, in order to block them from being traded to the Red Sox or Yankees. Knobler says that the Rays, however, are not believed to be the team that claimed Tejada.
Some links to peruse with your Sunday brunch:
- The A's are apparently in the process of finalizing a five-year naming rights contract with Verizon for Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, say Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross at the San Francisco Chronicle. Ownership could come into a lot of cash that way.
- John Harper at the New York Daily News believes the Yanks' handling of the Red Sox this weekend means Yankees GM Brian Cashman has outmaneuvered Theo Epstein.
- The Brewers have signed their fifth-round pick, D'Vontrey Richardson, but terms haven't been disclosed just yet, says Tom Haudricourt at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Phil Rogers at the Baltimore Sun believes that the Indians' and Pirates' firesales "raise competitiveness issues."
- Dan Novick at the Hardball Times asks the $64,000 question: "Why should I care about Alex Rios?"
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up. Let's dive in...
- Whatever the Blue Jays do with Alex Rios will tell us everything we need to know about the team's financial state and their opinion of Rios. Toronto could shed more than $60MM in obligation by letting the claiming team have him.
- Some executives believe Rios still has some trade value, and if the Jays wait until the offseason they'd be able to negotiate with all 29 other clubs. The problem is that the free agent market will again be flooded with outfielders.
- Free agent southpaw Mark Mulder could be throwing for teams within 7-10 days. Mulder is working with Rick Peterson, his former pitching coach, in New Jersey this weekend, The pair recently corrected a "minor mechanical flaw," and Peterson told Mulder's agent Greg Clifton that he was shocked the pitcher was in such good shape.
- Teams are looking at Mulder for September, with the Yankees, Brewers, Dodgers and Rangers are among the cubs that have expressed interest. Just as a reminder, if Mulder joins a big league team after August 31st, he would be ineligible for the playoff roster.
- Forget about all that talk from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. about going with a six-man rotation, Jamie Moyer will "almost certainly" head to the bullpen once Pedro Martinez is ready. The team just hasn't figured out how to break the news yet.
- Justin Masterson was throwing 93-97 in his first appearance with Cleveland, causing some club officials to wonder if he should be a closer down the line. Short term, the Indians need him in the rotation and he has the everything needed to become a third or fourth starter.