Now comes the trade-waivers season, a one-month stretch that can still produce blockbuster deals, such as the one last year that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
At some point in August, the White Sox will put Rios through trade waivers. If nobody claims him, they can negotiate a trade with any team in baseball. If a team claims him, the White Sox will be stuck negotiating a deal with just that team.
Of course, the White Sox can just give Rios and what is left on his contract to the claiming team. It is, after all, how the White Sox ended up with the outfielder in the first place when they claimed him from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The final option would be to pull Rios off waivers if he is claimed and keep him for the rest of the year.
It could explain why Rios still didn’t seem completely settled immediately after the non-waiver deadline came and went at 3 p.m. CT Wednesday.
Rios, who is signed through the 2104 season, was asked how he thought the rest of his tenure with the White Sox will play out.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “I don’t know how deep they are going to go into whatever they want to do. But as of right now, I’m part of the team and I’m going to do everything possible to win games and to do well. But that’s how I feel.”
The White Sox now have 22-year-old corner outfielder Avisail Garcia waiting in the wings. As good as he has been in limited major league action with the Detroit Tigers, he still isn’t the finished product development-wise. The White Sox have assigned Garcia to Triple-A Charlotte.
If the White Sox want to give Garcia some playing time as soon as next season, they will have to find a team to take Rios or Dayan Viciedo will need to learn a new position.
Rios is owed approximately $18 million between now and the end of his White Sox contract, so even if the return on talent in a potential August trade is less than ideal, unloading his money would be desirable.
GM Rick Hahn remains confident the White Sox can be competitive next season, and having some extra money to get creative on the free-agent market obviously would help.
“We’re never going to write off a season, especially when you have the caliber of pitching that we feel we have,” Hahn said. “So the notion that anyone would be less than enthusiastic about what lies ahead is not entirely accurate because our intention is to win again, win consistently and make that happen as quickly as possible. It’s not going to be this year, but with the pitching we have, it hopefully won’t be in the not too distant future.”