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Jays give away Rios, White Sox take advantage

Aug 10, 2009, 7:03 PM EDT

<a href=”http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32364650/ns/sports-player_news/”>Score another one for Kenny Williams</a>.  It almost never happens that players as talented Alex Rios can be acquired without surrendering anything in return.  The White Sox didn’t even have to outbid 29 teams or surrender a draft pick.  In Rios, they brought in a player who is about to start getting expensive, but one who figures to age well and live up to his contract.

 

The Jays can point to the fact that Rios’ numbers have dipped in an effort to justify the move, and it is entirely possible that his OPS will end up declining for a third straight year this season.  However, Rios is more than just his OPS.  He’s a legitimate center fielder who had no business being shoved to a corner for a declining Vernon Wells.  He’s a very durable player whose only DL stint in six years as a major leaguer came about because of an infected leg.  He’s an excellent basestealer, succeeding on 82 percent of his attempts over the last three years.

 

Rios will make $9.7 million next year and then $49 million over the following four years, so it’s not a move without risk for the White Sox.  Still, his durability and defensive value makes a collapse very unlikely.  Even if he wanders aimlessly and never lives up to his potential, his athleticism should guarantee that he’s something close to an average regular.  It’s more likely that he’ll have a couple of All-Star campaigns in Chicago and prove to be a modest bargain.

 

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, free up $9.7 million next year to spend as they see fit.  A lot of it could go towards re-signing Marco Scutaro, who is five years older than Rios.  Those absent $12 million-$12.5 million salaries in 2011 and beyond might just help the Jays keep Roy Halladay.  Or Rios’ absence could help drive Halladay away when the team goes on to finish in fourth or maybe even fifth place next year.  The Jays simply don’t have any Rios replacements on the way.  While the farm system has been productive, it’s been developing pitchers and unathletic hitters.  The Jays’ defense, already considerably worse without Scott Rolen, just took another major hit.

 

As did the franchise as a whole.  Rios never would have been sacrificed if the Jays still weren’t paying for the awful Wells and B.J. Ryan contracts.  It’s understandable that fans were frustrated with Rios and some might even be glad to see him gone.  Still, at best this move will help Rogers Corporation.  With or without Halladay, the Jays wouldn’t seem to have any October baseball in their future.

  1. John Pileggi - Aug 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM

    Kenny Williams has a cast iron stomach and an ownership that believes in him. Taking on Peavey and now Rios is very, very expensive and very, very risky. But it is difficult to argue with William’s record. He makes the memory of the infamous “White Flag” of his predecessors distant and faded. One HAS to root for a guy this fearless.

  2. Ned - Aug 10, 2009 at 11:44 PM

    This is a sad day for Jays fans. They are starting to behave like the Expos of the mid-90’s with salary dumps. If they don’t get a new ownership group (someone who is committed to competing) and a new GM (JP has to go), the team will continue to decline and, sadly, Toronto might lose the team in a couple of years.

  3. Rick 2009 - Aug 11, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    This guy is owed about 12 million a year for the next five plus seasons and averages 18 homers and a 280 average.It seems to me that not only is he going to eat up a lot of salary but may not even be a first stringer.

  4. hervelaurent - Aug 11, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    I have to agree Kenny is agressive AND Ozzie is CraZy………
    but it works. I hope the Yankees can handle you guys …….

  5. HLAURENT - Aug 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    With those numbers he is not a first stringer ???
    WOW, WHO DO YOU HAVE ON OUR BENCH ???
    A-ROD, NO HE PLAYS FOR THE YANKEES @ 30 MIL A YEAR…………
    DUDE, HE IS A STARTER, IN CENTER…….. FOR A PLAYOFF TEAM…..

  6. HLAURENT - Aug 11, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    YEAH BUT THEY CANT GET THE FANS, LAST WEEKEND THEY HONORED
    THE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM FOR THE WEEKEND, 20,000 IF THA MUCH
    TURNED OUT TO SEE THE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM ON SATURDAY. TICKETS
    FOR YANKEES GAMES WILL COST $150.00 EACH, I KNOW YOU HAVE
    BETTER PRICING.THE FANS HAVE TO SUPPORT THEIR TEAM.

  7. awineguy - Aug 11, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    Rios may be expensive but there is no risk involved, the Sox give up nothing but money to acquire a 28 year old two time All Star who has had an OPS+ of 120. 122 and 111 in his last three years. Even in this “disastrous” season Rios is at 94.
    The Ryan deal was awful from the get go, Wells sort of had Ricciardi in a corner as the Jays fans had seen Delgado walk so the Jays were sort of forced to sign Vernon.
    I can’t believe Ricciardi can keep his job after this season when he had to eat Ryan’s contract, bungled the Halladay situation situation and then let’s Rios walk for nothing.
    Ricciardi has done a good job in the draft and develop end but he’s been awful at contracts and free agency.

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