August 08, 2009
According to reports pretty much everywhere, aggregated nicely by MLB Trade Rumors, Toronto outfielder Alex Rios(notes) was placed on waivers and claimed by an as-yet unknown team. ESPN's Buster Olney says it's the White Sox:
MLB sources indicate the White Sox are most likely the team awarded the claim on Rios, but the Blue Jays have not confirmed it.
So that's plenty interesting. It forces a decision for Jays' general manager J.P. Ricciardi, a man who clearly thrives under pressure, with a ticking clock. Toronto can simply let Rios go to the claiming team, they can negotiate a trade, or they can pull Rios back (and pay him more than $60 million over the next five years). When asked about the situation, Ricciardi had...well, he had nothing meaningful to say to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian:
"In this case, all I'll tell you is everybody gets put through waivers. It's a normal process. Every team does it, but we're not going to comment on who was claimed or who wasn't claimed."
JP: "I would like an eighth card, please."
DEALER: "Um...no. That's not how it wor--"
JP: "It's going to take an additional card to get this thing done."
DEALER: "To get what thing done?"
JP: "Look, if you expect me to risk additional chips, I'm going to need more cards. Simple as that. We're talking about some great chips here. I'm not saying we're definitely going to put them in the pot. But if something makes sense -- like an eighth card, preferably a Jack -- then we at least have to listen."
DEALER: "No, JP. You can't have another card."
JP: "Well then I fold."
The White Sox have a few significant contracts that come off the books at the end of this season -- Dye, Thome, Contreras -- and more next year. They may in fact be able to add Rios. He's on pace for a 19-homer, 28-steal season. The Cell is an excellent hitting environment and it's traditionally homer-friendly. However, over the course of his career, Rios has been more productive in Toronto than elsewhere (.836 home OPS, .735 away) and the split has been extreme this season (.859, .617). He would be a substantial defensive upgrade over Scott Podsednik(notes) in centerfield, for sure.
We're not finished trading yet, gamers. Please stay tuned...
Photo via Getty Images