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Friday, August 9, 2013
Rios trade good for Sox and Rangers

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- The trade that sent Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox to the Texas Rangers for young infielder Leury Garcia makes sense for all parties involved.

For Rios, this will be his first chance at going to the postseason, having played his entire career with Toronto and the White Sox.

"I believe it will be refreshing for myself," said Rios as he prepared to leave the White Sox's clubhouse on Friday. "I am going to go to a team that is fighting for a playoff spot. I believe they are hoping to win their division and get to the playoffs."

The Rangers get an All-Star-caliber player who has five-tool capability. He was an obvious replacement for Nelson Cruz, who accepted a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. The Rangers believed that Cruz might appeal his suspension thus and be able to finish out the season while the process unfolded. Once Cruz took the penalty it was important to replace the big numbers he had put up as well as identify a run producer for this season and beyond.

Cruz will be a free agent in November which could have left a gaping hole at that position going into next season. The Rangers have Rios under contract for 2014 with a club option for 2015.

With the trade of Rios, the White Sox open up an outfield spot for Avisail Garcia, who was acquired in the Jake Peavy deal. Garcia will get consistent playing time in center and right field. Garcia can also play shortstop and second base. At the least he is a functional switch-hitter who can back up at different spots. Some scouts believe he is an everyday player who will continue to mature on and off the field.

At the same time Chicago saves $17 million on the life of the Rios contract. General manager Rick Hahn admitted that will help the organization to spend money on the major league team as well as sign amateur draft picks as well as international free agents.

"One of the positives that we get out of this unfortunate season is that we will have the opportunity to spend more money on amateur talent," Hahn said. "Any savings (from trades) will be the first line item on what we spend in the draft and what we spend internationally."

The White Sox have saved close to $50 million off the 2013 payroll by trading Rios, Peavy, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain. That money will not all go back to the 2014 major league payroll. The Sox must also compensate for lost revenue due to dropping attendance for the last four consecutive seasons.

All things considered, Rios, the White Sox and Rangers should prosper from this transaction.