Alex Rios showed up at Yankee Stadium and saw his name in the starting lineup Monday night. He left the ballpark a few hours later, on his way to join the White Sox and a pennant race.
The two-time All-Star was claimed off waivers by Chicago and learned the news about 30 minutes before the first pitch between the Blue Jays and New York Yankees. The White Sox assume his entire huge contract while Toronto receives no compensation.
Rios' Red Flags
Rios Alex Rios' production has plummeted this season, but he has especially declined in hitting when he is ahead in the count and against off-speed pitches.
Category 2008 2009
Ahead in Count .372 .257
vs curveball .304 .200
vs pitches up .327 .256
vs off-speed pitches up .400 .208
"I'd heard the rumors, but yeah, I thought I was going to stay here," Rios said outside the Blue Jays clubhouse. "Stuff happens, and I just have to move on."
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said the move was not "a financial dump," but acknowledged that Toronto needs "more financial flexibility."
Rios signed a seven-year contract with the Blue Jays in April 2008 that guarantees him $69,835,000. He was due $5.9 million this season, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million apiece in 2013 and 2014.
There is also a $13.5 million team option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.
"Since we did the contract, so many things have changed in the game economically in the last year, little over a year, and this allows us to get out from under a contract and enables us to do more to address our club going forward," Ricciardi said.
Rios has struggled most of the season, batting .264 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs in 108 games, although Ricciardi said that wasn't much of a factor in the decision.
He said that the White Sox had expressed interest in Rios for some time, but the two sides never came close to a trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Even so, the Blue Jays have several gaping holes in the lineup and could use the cash.
Monday, August 10, 2009
White Sox acquire Rios from Toronto (ESPN.com)
Posted by 2j at 7:40 PM