6:56 PM: As noted by Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a clause in Rios’s pact with the Braves required the club to add him to the active roster by tomorrow or else trade him to a team willing to do the same. Given this, it seems all but certain that the A’s will select Rios to the roster ahead of their next game, which will occur Tuesday against the Guardians.
6:43 PM: The Athletics have acquired right-hander Yacksel Rios from the Braves in exchange for cash considerations, per an announcement by Oakland. Rios signed with the Braves on a minor league deal back in January.
A 12th round pick by the Phillies in the 2011 draft, Rios made his MLB debut with the club in 2017, pitching to a league average 4.41 ERA in 16 1/3 innings of work. He’s suited up for the Pirates, Mariners, and Red Sox in addition to the Phillies since then, with his most recent big league work coming with Boston in 2021, where the right-hander threw to a solid 3.70 ERA (128 ERA+) in 24 1/3 innings of work, though his 4.90 FIP indicates that strong run prevention may not have been fully earned. Overall, Rios has a career 5.77 ERA in 96 2/3 big league innings of work. During his big league career, Rios’s biggest issue has been his control, as he sports a career walk rate of 11.5% that spiked has high as 14% during the 2021 season.
While Rios, who celebrates his 30th birthday later this month, has a fairly lengthy track record of mediocrity at the big league level, a dominant start to the 2023 season at the Triple-A level with the Braves has seemingly caught Oakland’s attention. Across 24 2/3 innings with the Braves’ affiliate in Gwinnett, Rios has dominated to a 1.46 ERA with a 31.9% strikeout rate and a far more manageable walk rate of 8.5%. If the journeyman reliever can keep anything approaching that pace with the A’s, it’s possible the club has an intriguing bullpen piece on their hands.
As of now, there’s no word as to whether or not Oakland intends to promote Rios to the majors. That said, given the club’s bullpen sports an MLB-worst ERA of 5.61, it would be of little surprise to see the A’s try to use Rios to give a boost to their relief corps, which currently sports Trevor May, Lucas Erceg, and Sam Moll in the late innings.