As the Rangers have now sunk into the cellar in the AL West—quite the accomplishment considering the Astros recent woes—just about everyone who isn’t locked into a long-term deal is on the trade block.
Why he’s available…
Rios has a team option for $13.5M in 2015, but it comes with just a $1M buyout, meaning he’ll likely hit the free agent market after this season. Even though the Rangers have hopes of getting healthy and turning it around quickly next year, Rios will be 34 and probably not worth money for a team looking to get younger.
Why the Indians want him…
Have you seen their right fielders lately? Take a look at their collective stats
Indians RF: .239 BA, .301 OBP, .350 Slug%, 7 HR, 54 RBI
That’s basically the equivalent of having the 1991 version of Chris James starting in right every night (James: .238/.271/.318).
Rios, however, is batting .305 with a .334 OBP. And while his power numbers have dropped off considerably in recent years (he has just four home runs), he still runs well (16 SB).
Can they afford him…
If the Tribe is serious about making another run at the postseason, paying for two months of Rios’ current $12.5M is well worth it. And according to Rosenthal, the Rangers would even be willing to pay for a portion of his salary.
The front office is probably somewhat worried about paying for Rios only to find themselves 10 games out by the end of August, but because of his buyout option at the end of the year he’s definitely not out of their price range.
Rosenthal mentions the Giants, Reds and Royals. Of that group, the Indians clearly have the biggest need. In fact, it’s tough to see how he fits into the picture as an everyday outfielder in Cincinnati and San Francisco.
The downside here is that the Rangers could pit the Indians and Royals against each other. If either one acquires Rios, it not only boost their offense but blocks the other from adding the best outfield bat on the market.