6:37pm: Ríos is guaranteed $1MM on the deal, reports Kiley McDaniel of ESPN (Twitter link).
6:24pm: The Cubs have signed corner infielder Edwin Ríos to a big league contract, tweets Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times. Reliever Ethan Roberts was placed on the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Ríos is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Ríos, 28, has played in each of the last four MLB campaigns as a member of the Dodgers. He hasn’t gotten more than 32 appearances in any individual season, a testament both to Los Angeles’ position player depth and Ríos’ personal injury history. The left-handed hitter has spent time on the injured list in each of the past three seasons. He lost some time in 2020 to a left hamstring strain and has missed significant chunks of the last couple years with respective right shoulder and right hamstring injuries.
Those maladies have disrupted what has been a promising start to Ríos’ big league career. He has 20 home runs, nine doubles and a triple in just 292 trips to the plate. A lofty 32% strikeout rate has worked against his batting average and on-base percentage (respectively .219 and .299) but he owns a very strong .492 slugging mark against MLB pitching. That power outburst included seven round-trippers in 27 games last season.
Ríos has been a quality offensive player over an even larger body of work at Triple-A. Through parts of four seasons at the top minor league level, the Florida International product carries an excellent .282/.349/.526 line with a decent 8.2% walk rate but a 31.1% strikeout percentage in a little under 1200 plate appearances. Ríos bat-to-ball skills are questionable, but there’s little doubt he has significant power upside.
That production intrigued the Cubs enough to guarantee him a major league roster spot. He’d been non-tendered by the Dodgers at the start of the offseason, with L.A. opting against retaining him on a salary projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz around $1.4MM. Financial terms of his deal with Chicago aren’t known, though it’s assuredly a low base salary. The more meaningful development is that he won’t have to work his way onto the 40-man roster.
Ríos does still have one minor league option year remaining. The Cubs can keep him in Triple-A Iowa for the upcoming season, though there’s also a path to securing regular playing time in the majors. Chicago’s third base situation is unsettled, with Patrick Wisdom, Christopher Morel and Nick Madrigal among those who could vie for reps.
Wisdom, a right-handed hitter, has been the primary option at the hot corner the past two years. He has slugged .533 against left-handed pitching in that time but posted a .209/.290/.438 line against righties. That makes him a potential platoon fit with the lefty-swinging Ríos. Morel and Madrigal also hit from the right side but could assume multi-positional roles off the bench and/or head back to the minors on optional assignment.
If Ríos carves out an important role and runs with it, he could be a long-term piece for the Chicago infield. He has a little over three years of major league service. He’ll be eligible for arbitration at least twice more after this season, and any optional stint in the minors could extend that window of control by an additional season.
The 25-year-old Roberts pitched in nine games last year after breaking camp as a rookie. He eventually landed on the shelf with shoulder inflammation and required Tommy John surgery last June. It’s possible he returns from that procedure at the tail end of the season, but there’s no chance he’d have been ready within the first two months. His IL placement was a mere formality whenever the need for a roster spot arose. He’ll be paid at the MLB minimum rate and accrue big league service time while rehabbing.
Guys looks like he’ll hit if he gets at bats.
Honestly this is a very good addition. I was surprised Rios has been unsigned all this time.
I suspect he fielded a number of minor league contract offers.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Plug him in, he’s got power…
Old timer 78
Could Never Figure why the Dodgers didn’t find a Spot for Edwin. The Cubs got a Great Pick Up.
Dodger’s gave him opportunities and he was good until injuries kept him out of lineup, great pickup if he stays on the field.
Three reasons. He didn’t hit much, was often hurt, and is positionally challenged. Maybe he breaks out before he turns 30 years old, but the Dodgers already have enough of those wait and see players, all of them younger than Rios.
This has the makings of a sneaky good signing that ends up being amazing for both the player and the organization
Sure, Because Mckinstry worked out so well try again. If he’s so good why is Mckinstry not DFA’d yet?
If Rios gets through spring training healthy and Mckinstry doesn’t do much, then maybe they do something. .
Best move of the offseason right here. Looking forward to a 6 WAR 145 wRC+ Season
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
6 WAR from a DH? Gonna need about a 185 wRC+ for that one
I see him at a gold glove 3B
Gold glove 3rd baseman?
Nolan Arenado says hold my 9 straight gold glove pack and cracks one open and says ahhhhh Busch
He headed for the mountains of Busch
Do your homework.
He’s obviously joking.
Did Rios change his name to Yordan Alvarez?
If he gets at bats, he’ll smash. Bummed Dodgers dropped him.
Good depth move, he can be good, had faith in him when he was in the Dodgers organization.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
The Chicago Dodgers
Well if your going to sign all the players from another team they could do worse then the dodgers
Yet the Dodgers signed Heyward….
Signing Heyward and playing Heyward are not the same. Heyward is at most a backup CF-RF on a team with one of the best three starting RFs in the game.
Dodgers love to give washed-up outfielders like Gallo and Heyward a chance.
Best three RF but black hole in CF could lead to at least platoon AB’s for Heyward if he makes the roster
Minor league deal. Though. He has to make the team. If anything he’ll be a great clubhouse guy for them. He’s only 33. He won’t be 34 until August 9th.
We want Mervis!!
Mervis will get plenty of playing time. Rios plays 3rd. So I’m guessing that’ll be his main position. Christopher Morel can play just about anywhere so he’ll platoon with the corner OFers and have some playing time at 3rd and 2nd too.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
Rios plays 3rd as well as most Cubs fans
I’m not a Morel fan. He seems like a poor man’s Javy Baez. Super athletic, terrible bat-to-ball skills. I don’t see him being a factor on the MLB team.
If memory serves me right, Morel basically got off to a hot start for about his first month, and then was probably a .200 hitter going the rest of the way… he’s versatile, but his glove is not a plus, so yeah I’m a cubs fan so I like the excitement he’s provided, but I agree that he’s not part of the future, unless he actually develops into a productive enough bench player. There is enough pop in his bat at least for the possibility, but also way too much swing and miss.
And Ryan, he was just 22 years old last year. Most of those prospects are still in AA ball.
Morel kinda came out of nowhere and rode the wave. He was a fun guy to watch on a mediocre team. I think with more seasoning he can stick and stay. One of those guys that wasn’t on many prospect lists but seems to thrive on the big stage. I definitely give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he can prove to be a versatile utility guy. Teammates already seem to feed off of his big smiles and positive vibes…that’s something that can’t be quantified.
Fans love Morel because he was so good when he was first called up and tend to ignore that he was basically unplayable at the end of the season.
I’m not saying that Morel has no future in the big leagues but odds are he starts the season in AAA so he can get consistent at bats.
Geez… The guy barely played in AAA and you guys want him off the team based on his rookie season.
Capi- He went right from AA to MLB. Never played at AAA. He’s going to have to be really bad this Spring to not be on the team going North. Guys who can play 6 positions don’t grow on trees.
If you are referring to off the big league roster, yes. Morel has talent but he exposed by big league pitching as the season went on and needs consistent at bats and more seasoning in the minors.
Not that they’re on the same dimension but even Mike Trout got exposed and had to make adjustments… Morel deserves every chance to make the roster and to succeed at whatever role they need him for, or else, it makes no sense to have all these coaches and developmental staff for the minors.
…However, guys who don’t make good adjustments and then go on to only hit right around .200 the rest of the way while striking out over 30% of the time and increasing, do grow on trees.
He does, in triple a.
Morel has the talent to be an everyday player (at least in my opinion) but he isn’t going to develop into one if he sitting on the bench more often than not. If he is destined to be a bench player then sure, bring him up and let him sit.
These moves seem more likely as backup plans to the main plan. Makes the moves to keep Bote and Alcantara around even more mystifying. All they’re doing is taking playing time away from guys who have a legitimate future. They should keep Quiroz around as an emergency SS but some of those guys at Iowa are Cannon Fodder. I could see Morel, Davis and Madrigal all at Iowa to prove they can stay healthy. They all need to play rather than sit, But Ross might find Morel too useful to send him down. Don’t sleep on Darius Hill making the team either as he either led or almost led AAA last year in hits. Velasquez has a lot to prove this Spring also. I don’t know if Rios is any good, But if he’s better than McKinstry and Mastrobuoni why are they still here? Seems like Jed and Carter are stockpiling bad Infielders and LH P’s trying to hit the lottery. As for Morel, Let’s see what adjustments he’s made before judging. I’m sure they’ve been working all winter.
Spot on. Never thought of it that way but Morel is a poor man’s Baez.
Morel’s glove mostly suffered because they had him playing 5 different positions. It’s tough being a rookie, much less asking him to move around so much. Now his bat is more concerning to me. Once the league had some pixels on him, he looked overmatched at the plate most of the time.
Trout, as a 19 year old rookie, was just bad. He didn’t get “exposed” so to speak as much as he just never hit. He didn’t hit when he was first called up and didn’t get going at all during his cup of coffee.
Morel on the other hand came out blistering hot and pitchers figured him out.
Also, as you stated, Trout is a different level of player. Morels minor league slash line of 242 .313 .413 .726 suggest he needs more time in minors. He didn’t play in AAA in 2022 at all and missed 2020 due to Covid. He’s an exciting player with a lot of potential but he needs to develop more as a hitter.
Morel is great. His playing time might shrink but his energy is what every team needs. He’s only 23 so there’s plenty of time for him to grow. He put on 60lbs of muscle this winter.
No human can put on 60 pounds of muscle over a winter. It’s impossible, Even with pharmaceuticals..
Wisdom was excellent vs LH pitching last year. It looks so me, with Rios getting the 40 man roster spot- that Rios has a legit shot to grab the long side of the 3B platoon vs RH pitching.
Mervis will be brought up in summer at soonest.
God I hope so because that would mean Hosmer is gone.
Unless he absolutely rakes in spring training.
I imagine this either pushes Madrigal to the minors or off the roster completely.
You guys act like he’s a top prospect. He’s not on anyone’s top 100. Not that he still couldn’t be good. But people are reacting to one season, albeit one very good season last year.
Morel had a very good season? A .741 OPS is decent, not anything special.. especially considering he struck out 36% of the time!! .308 OBP is trash.
Not to mention, he had a -9 DRS.
I think they’re responding to the original comment about Mervis, not Morel
Yup. Mervis is an older guy who just became a “prospect” but I do think he’s for real and will stick as a starter once he comes up.
Morel is a great clubhouse, energy and attitude guy who should snag the last utility spot for the next couple years.
When Mervis is ready Hosmer will be the odd man out
Excellent pick up for the Cubs if he can stay healthy.
“If he can stay healthy…” a proposition attached to so many.
I liked Edwin Rios a lot and wished he could have stayed. He has a nice HR stroke. He is a good guy, too.
Motor City Beach Bum
Not sure why the Tigers didn’t take a chance on him. His name came up every few weeks on Motor City Bengals all offseason. Great signing if he gets a chance to play and puts it all together for a full season.
Came here to say the same thing. But at least we have Kreidler and Maton…
Came to say this very thing. I’ve wondered why all winter actually.
Aloha folks, well, Jed is stocking up on left handed bats. Wonder what happens with McKinstry now? Mahalo
I’d release McKinstry. He didn’t impress me at all. Made some dumb mistakes on the field and running the bases, and wasn’t very ghood offensively. I know he’s a utility player only, but Cubs can do better.
Agree…release/trade McKinstry. I keep hearing how much the Cubs like him and how other teams also really like him. I don’t see it, and I also don’t want to see his D!
There’s a misconception about Wrigley. Despite its relatively small dimensions, when the wind blows in (some years more than it blows out), it can be tough to hit a homer. Check the stats – I think it’s middle of the pack in terms of HRs usually. People remember the 23-22 game and the wind blowing out like crazy, but that just isn’t reality most of the time. Then again, reality bites.
Wrigley also has the deepest lines, deepest right field well and a fairly deep left field well.
3B against righties. Legit power that can only get better playing at the Friendly Confines
Definitely has impressive power but contact and pitch selection remains to be seen. Deserves a real opportunity to get a lot of playing time. Him and Patrick might make a great duo going between 3rd and DH.
I like the signing, I agree with a lot of the comments. Could be a strong get a position of need (3B) and the lineup definitely needs another LH bat. I’m happy he still has a minor league option left incase the K% doesn’t drop and/or someone like Morel, Madrigal or Wisdom play too well to sit. Good offseason for the Cubs.
I like that Jed made this move. But I do have concerns about his high K rate. Along with Wisdom and Morel, that’s a whole lotta whiffin’ goin’ on.
Ríos is going to have a successful year.
I loved the guy. He is an athlete, big, fast , good face, talented, got a great jaw, beautiful swing, the ball explodes off the bat, has a good looking girlfriend for a start.
I’m kidding for all those that hate money ball.
But watch this guy.
He does have a beautiful swing.
Kind of guy you just want to do well.
I just hope for cubs sake he gets clear of all the injuries and gets to play regularly.
lol at the first half stuff… I was like what the hell?
Good face and a great jaw!
I have watched him play quite a bit. If he is healthy he will outplay any of the current cub options.
As it stands, the Cubs have a surplus of question marks and a dearth of exclamation points. And Nick Madrigal’s path to playing time just got a bit more challenging. But I like this pickup.
Might be the best 1B and 3B option on their roster right now.
Don’t sell Matt Mervis short on his hitting abilities.
Mervis isn’t on the 40 man roster.
Don’t expect anything from Matt Mervis until he faces Major League pitching on an extended prolonged basis and proves he can adequately do damage against it.
You’re right. A guy that hasn’t had a major league at bat is the savior. Time will tell.
Babe Rios! Glad to see he got a major league deal. I don’t often question Friedman’s decision making, but non-tendering Edwin had me scratching my head. He has insane power. I think he will be great if he gets regular reps and can stay healthy.
Rather give his at bats to Michael Bush
I agree I think he will do well.
I think it’s just the injuries that screwed him up. If he get consistent at bats watch him take off.
Cubs could be sneaky good this season.
This feels like a left handed Wisdom. Platoons work and Wisdom had a .556 slug and .892 ops against left handers and .380 slug and 665 ops against righties.
Edwin Rios could be a strong side platoon option with Patrick Wisdom at 3B. The duo figures to provide plenty of power but with lots of whiffs, par for the course in today’s game of 3 outcome baseball.
Rios has light tower power, it’s just a matter of him staying healthy and, getting regular at bats to progress. He couldn’t stay healthy for the Dodgers the past couple of years. We’ll see if he can fair better in the Windy City,
Great signing, but how many first basemen do they need?
Nice pickup. Desperately need another 3B option and a LH bat. Let’s hope it works out!
Anything that adds depth to my team I love it. Don’t understand who is getting pushed off the 26 man but guess we will see.
The Marlins should have signed him. 🙁