The Texas Rangers got a bat Friday, and they got it at a discount. It's a great move by general manager Jon Daniels and his staff, who picked up some offensive help at the price of a player to be named later, likely Leury Garcia, according to reports.
Alex Rios is now a Ranger. The right-handed-hitting outfielder from the White Sox has a .277 average. He's not the power hitter that Nelson Cruz is, but he has a solid track record at the plate and has added 26 stolen bases this season. The Rangers, who have done a nice job this week of attacking more on the bases and becoming more versatile on offense, get a guy who can fit right into that pattern.
Reports had the White Sox asking for two of the Rangers' top prospects back near July 31. Some reports said those two were Martin Perez and Luke Jackson, a ridiculous price for Rios. The Rangers, rightly, said no. But once the White Sox put Rios on waivers, the Rangers put in a claim and -- as the team with the worst record of those that put in the claim -- got the right to negotiate with the White Sox for 72 hours on a deal.
Chicago must have decided it didn't want Rios' long-term salary on the books and chose to at least get a player back in the process. Garcia showed he could play multiple positions and certainly has upside, but it's a deal that makes great sense for the Rangers to get an outfielder who isn't a rental.
With Cruz, who is suspended for the remainder of the regular season, and David Murphy set to be free agents at the end of the season, the Rangers are able to address an immediate need and think big-picture. Rios can slide right into an outfield spot next season, and the club has an option for 2015. A trade clause in his contract boosted his 2014 and 2015 salary, as well as the 2015 buyout, so he is owed $13 million next season and the remaining portion of his $12 million salary this season with a $2 million buyout for 2015. Still, I like this deal.
One scout described Rios as a 5-tool player, but with inconsistent use of those tools. He doesn't have the power of Cruz, but he does have speed and should be highly motivated coming to a winner in the midst of a pennant race. Yes, he isn't hitting home runs lately. But he's still getting hits and driving in some runs. Rios is not a guy you'll find working counts deep. But we've seen manager Ron Washington do a terrific job in finding the strengths of his players and utilizing them. He'll get the most that he can out of Rios. And it won't hurt to have former teammate A.J. Pierzynski in the Rangers' clubhouse too.
With Cruz out, I like this move. Do you?