Less than 10 days after the July 31st trade deadline and with the loss of Nelson Cruz still stinging, the Texas Rangers successfully claimed right fielder Alex Rios on waivers and agreed to send a player to be named later – reportedly minor league infielder Leury Garcia – to Chicago to finalize the deal. The White Sox will also send $1 million to Texas as well.
Coming off of his best overall season since 2008, Rios has been a solid performer for the White Sox this season; hitting .277/.328/.421 with 22 doubles, a pair of triples, 12 homeruns and 26 stolen bases (in 32 attempts). According to Weighted Runs Created Plus, his total offensive production has essentially been league average (102 wRC+).
And while Rios’ bat doesn’t have the upside that Nelson Cruz brought to the lineup, he should a noticeable upgrade in both the outfield and on the base paths. Cruz has posted a UZR/150 of -18.2 since 2011; whereas Rios has totaled -3.8.
Texas’ new right fielder is also under control for team control through 2014 ($12.5M) with a $13.5M team option for 2015 – both reasonable enough given his level of production.
As for the White Sox, this amounts to nothing more than a salary dump more or less. The reported player received, Leury Garcia, is a 5-foot-7, switch-hitting middle infielder with below-average walk rates, little power, and some base stealing prowess.
Prior to the year, I ranked Garcia as the 13th best prospect in Texas’ farm system, writing: “While [he] won’t develop into a regular everyday player, he has a lot of skills similar to someone like Maicer Izturis minus the average walk rate.” And that still seems like a reasonable comp today.
Photo of Alex Rios Courtesy of USA TODAY sports images via SBNation.com