The White Sox probably wanted Alex Rios to go through waivers unclaimed so they could get back to forming a market among the contenders in need of outfield reinforcements.
Alas, the Texas Rangers claimed him. Now the two teams have until noon Saturday (allegedly) to complete a deal that wasn't particularly close to happening at the trade deadline, at least according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
At least the Rangers have the potential of needing to make a deal. They could definitely use him to patch their outfield, as its credibility was sketchy before Nelson Cruz apparently caught the Rangers off guard by accepting his suspension in the Biogenesis crackdown. It'd be far less preferable if the Rangers only needed to block another team, but there's plenty of incentive to pick up Rios for their own good.
Now we're watching what's basically a game of Executive Chicken (I have a couple of their albums) between Rick Hahn and his Texas counterpart, Jon Daniels.
For Daniels, it depends on what he considers the worst-case scenario. He's already established that he's willing to take on Rios' salary, so paying a retail price of $17ish million for outfield help through 2014 must not bother him that much. The bigger question is whether he considers standing pat too risky after three years of agonizing postseason failures. He probably doesn't like the idea of settling for a wild card spot, given what happened last year, so will he want to let what might be the last best chance to upgrade his roster pass him by?
On Hahn's side, he's basically in the same position that he had with Jake Peavy -- he doesn't need to trade Rios for payroll relief, but Rios doesn't figure to be on the next contender, and there's a guy below him (Avisail Garcia) who could make better, cheaper use of any transition period.
At the same time, if there's another August trade Hahn can make that would accomplish the same ends as a Rios deal (Adam Dunn is hitting .289/.401/.532 over 242 plate appearances since the start of June, y'know), Hahn could retain Rios until the offseason and see who's up for giving him a mildly interesting prospect.
I can see the value both ways -- like Peavy, there's a victory in freeing up that much cash to use elsewhere, even if it's not as useful on the open market as it used to be. At the same time, the idea of receiving nothing for Rios feels like a failure of sorts, or at least a blow to the ego. I'd hope that the Sox would be amenable to kicking in at least a little cash if it helps get a prospect this time around. Between Peavy and Rios, that's about $37 million they're saving, which is significant freedom. But $32 million and another guy they like sounds pretty good, too.
Waiting room reading stack
"I’m not expecting any deals," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, but he declined to confirm or deny that a claim was submitted on Rios.
Phil Rogers is on the side of a salary dump:
Hahn has been conservative in his first year as a general manager, and the conservative thing to do is hold on to Rios in the hope of trading him in the offseason or trying to have a bounce-back season in 2014 with him on the roster. But I'd say uncle.
As Commissioner Bud Selig would say, it's not unconstitutional to do the smart thing financially. That is clearly to cut ties with Rios.
From perusing Lone Star Ball's discussion and previous deadline reading, it's funny seeing how many packages and permutations Hahn has supposedly demanded from the Rangers over the last month. Supposedly he asked for Rougned Odor, Luke Jackson and Martin Perez. Supposedly he asked for Jurickson Profar. One LSB comment says Luis Sardinas was another guy, again, supposedly.
Take one rumor in isolation, and it sounds like Hahn could be making a(n overly) strong introductory offer. Take them all into account, and it sounds like a bunch of people have no clue what's actually being discussed.
It reminds me of what Hahn told Matt Spiegel and Ben Finfer on 670 The Score last Thursday. When asked about the biggest difference year-over-year now that he's in the driver's seat, he said he seemed to see a lot more misinformation:
"Maybe that's been out there for years and I just didn't pay it close attention, or maybe the media has changed a little bit in terms of Twitter and the accessibility of trade rumors, and the incentive for writers to get stuff out there, but the reality of what we were discussing and the clubs involved and the talent requested and the talent offered was a pretty far distance away from what was being reported."
Of course, he has his own incentive to dismiss the rumor mill as a whole, so you can't take his word for it 100 percent, either. Still, when you collect enough one-off reports and end up with Hahn mixing and matching an entire Top 30 Prospects list, you can see where he's coming from.
Anyway, they're cherry-picking comments from here and calling us foolish. We're picking comments from there and calling them foolish. It's all a reminder that rumor season, while kinda fun, is also pretty stupid.
Share whatever dumb rumors here. It could be a while.